The Ecology Center, a Michigan-based environmental group, has released a study asserting that more than half of the low-cost children’s and adult jewelry it recently tested presented a “high” level of concern because the products contained at least one hazardous chemical. Using an X-ray fluorescence analyzer, researchers tested 99 pieces of jewelry from 14 retailers in six states—Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Vermont. They looked for chemicals including lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, bromine, and chlorine (PVC), which “have been linked in animal and some human studies to acute allergies and to long-term health impacts such as birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, and cancer,” according to the group’s Website, HealthyStuff.org.

Researchers found that overall (i) 59 percent (58 products) rated as a high level of concern because they contained one or more hazardous chemicals or metals at high levels; (ii) 27 percent (27 products) contained more than 300 parts per million (ppm) lead, exceeding the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s limit of lead in children’s products; (iii) 10 percent (10 products) contained more than 100 ppm cadmium in one or more component; (iv) 13 percent (12 products) contained greater than 100 ppm arsenic; (v) 5 percent (5 products) contained more than 100 ppm mercury; (vi) 7 percent (7 products) contain brominated flame retardants with greater than 1,000 ppm bromine; and (vii) 12 percent (11 products) contained PVC greater than 25,000 ppm chlorine.

“There is no excuse for jewelry, especially children’s jewelry, to be made with some of the most well studied and dangerous substances on the planet,” said Ecology Center Research Director Jeff Gearhart. Urging manufacturers to immediately start replacing these chemicals with non-toxic substances, the group is calling for lawmakers to overhaul the Toxics Substances Control Act, the federal law that regulates chemicals in commerce, by supporting the Safe Chemicals Act (S. 847) introduced in 2011. See HealthyStuff.org Press Release, March 13, 2012.