Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Chinese replace lead with cadmium


I’m just passing this news along without comment:

Headline at

Toxic Metal in Kids’ Jewelry From China

With lead use barred, tests reveal toxic cadmium in children’s
jewelry from China"

Two quotes from the article:

“The most contaminated piece analyzed in lab testing performed for
the AP contained a startling 91 percent cadmium by weight. The
cadmium content of other contaminated trinkets, all purchased at
national and regional chains or franchises, tested at 89 percent, 86
percent and 84 percent by weight.”

…“If the products were painted toys, they would face a recall. If
they were industrial garbage, they could qualify as hazardous waste.
But since there are no cadmium restrictions on jewelry, such items
are sold legally.”

Neil A.


I just read this and passed it along to all the moms I know. So
scary and sad.


I would be interested to know how the analysis was done as the link
is no longer current.

I have analysed the metals in the metal beads and jewellery findings
I import from China and have never found cadmium as anything other
than a flash plating which was overplated. Zinc is the commonest base
metal used in Chinese jewellery. A mischief maker might decide
overlapping zinc x-ray lines are really cadmium but it wouldnt be an
honest mistake. The same would apply to a thin [typically 3 micron]
coating on steel- x-ray would show as predominantly Cd rather than
0.001% that a bulk analysis might show.

Just a thought
Nick royall


Nick, Google “cadmium.” There are references there to who did the



Thank you, Neil. Is there no end to what some companies will do to
make a profit?


I would be interested to know how the analysis was done 

Here’s a quote from the first link below. You can try using google
or bing to check on the scientist, perhaps contact him:

“The jewelry testing was conducted by chemistry professor Jeff
Weidenhamer of Ashland University in Ohio, who over the past few
years has provided the government with results showing high lead
content in products that were later recalled.”

as the link is no longer current. 

The link I provided on ABC News website is still current. Try
another one:

AP: Feds probe cadmium in kids’ jewelry from China By Justin

or this one:

US agency goes after cadmium in children’s jewelry By Justin
pritchard and jeff Donn Associated Press writers

or just do a search on “Associated Press” cadmium Chinese jewelry
There are plenty of hits. Various news outlets edited the AP story,
and some articles provide others left out.

Neil A.


I heard on the radio today that WalMart is pulling lots of jewelry,
that they carry and that is made in China, off the shelves because of
the Cadmium.

John Dach


It is scary and sad but it is what the consumer wants…cheap stuff.
I wonder if all that bling in the commercial jewelry stores is as


One of the news commentators on our local TV station reported that
the government is concerned about the matter and is investigating.
The reporter did not state which agency of the government is doing
the investigating, or what actions will be taken to assure that the
buying public will not be at risk.

Alma Rands.


Is there a solution to test for cadmium in metals? I have been
giving my grandchildren trinkets since they were born. I even gave
them an entire jewelry store (display implements, tons of jewelry,
tools, business cards, sign, cash register) the whole works. Now I am
reading that the Chinese have been making their jewelry with as much
as 90% cadmium. And their attitude is "Just business, it’s cheaper."
I am freaking out! Does anyone know of a way to detect cadmium?

I also believe that people will be bringing in their jewelry for all
of us to tell them if it is safe.



Is saving a dime that important? I’m not sure about their tea or
silk but the rest of the junk we import is crap.

Cardboard biscuits, tainted toothpaste, leaden toys, moldy dog food,
the list is never ending and this is just the stuff you hear about
in the news.

I for one won’t buy Chinese if there is an alternative. Wake up.


Links to AP articles on cadmium, testing, etc.

Nasty stuff!
David Stitt


Interesting that the cadmium is being used as a substitute for lead
in kid’s jewelry. I wouldn’t think lead was a very good component for
kid’s jewelry anyway.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ

Flash plating that was overplated 

So, it still contacts the skin and likely the mouth of a child.


Dear Neil,

thanks for the links, I have read the articles and now tell how the
analysis has been done on the headlined samples and other tests used
by various agencies.

I do not dispute the lab test carried out on the 103 samples quoted
are correct and relevant. I do worry more about the portable XRF and
acid dissolution field tests as they will give very unreliable
results uless the samples are prepared properly and this isnt the
case for the quoted examples. Years ago i worked with the world
experts on pathways for heavy metal from the environment into people
and the acid tests were originally done to look at arsenic absorbtion
in a population of school children near a mine dump in Canada. The
results of analysis on the leachate and the residue were the exact
opposite of what was expected, there was no take up of As by the
body. Diet plays a part in heavy metal absorbtion, a high dairy
intake stops the take up of lead, cadmium and other metals as these
normally replace calcium in the body. The portable XRF equipment
gives a spectrum of the elements present in the top few layers of
atoms in the surface of the sample and the data needs correcting to
take into account atomic mass and hence electron and X-ray energy.
This is normally performed by the software and then you can further
correct to atom % to calculate the likey number of cations available
for reaction. If a sample id plated it will give an analysis of the
plating rather than the bulk of the material. It does appear as
though the papers have not placed a caveat on the methodology or
results as this would remove some of the sensationalism from the
article. Zinc does not alloy easily with many metals so it is
unlikely that Cd will be found as an alloying component in Zn

I would not like to buy jewellery findings with a Cd content [other
than a flash plating that is then plated over] becasue it is very
toxic so any result that shows its use in jewellery is always
worrying. The same applies to nickel and there is no ban on coinage
yet, which can contain 25-100% nickel. There again, Cd is used in
gold solder, particularly in automated manufacture of chain etc.
There is always a story behind the headline so lobby for control of
hazardous substances but from an informed position rather than a
newspaper’s/politician’s kneejerk.


A small amount of Potassium dichromate plus a little concentrated
nitric acid can be used as a test for lead, cadmium, and silver
metals. Lead gives a yellow colour, cadmium gives a yellow colour
(cadmium yellow) and silver gives a bright red colour. I made up
this solution for my father, a publican in the East End of London, as
there were some counterfeit coins coming over the counter when I was
about 20. (68 years ago!) It worked well.

Cheers for now,
JohnB of NZ


Hello List, These is a test kit available for testing for Cadmium for

I have a test kit for nickel and lead that I use to test all my

Veva Bailey


List, here is the buying link for the test kits.


So, it still contacts the skin and likely the mouth of a child. 

Not so, it is entirely plated by silver or another metal. Your steel
golf clubs are treated in the same way with a nickel flash plating
before being chromed… It helps the plating bond.

Nick Royall


I been screaming about this at the top of my lungs for years, I made
a pact with my wife and i never to by anything Chinese again, and if
there is no alternative then I do not need it,will not use it.SHOES,
has anyone shopped for shoes lately? in every catalog and major
store and major companies it is all Chinese to my shock even my
beloved Clark’s and Doc Martins have started being made there,I
stopped buying them all. and went and found Shoes made in the US,
granted they are 2 or 3 times as much but there is no way they can
beat the quality, and they will never beat the good feeling i get
every time I put them on and feel i kept a couple of dollars here in
this country. they are beautifully made and will probably last a few is unfathomable to think we did this to ourselves, but
hopefully we can get it back to where it should be, made in the USA
by the American people with pride.

Hratch Babikian