As children's product manufacturers and retailers have wondered whether the Consumer Product Safety Commission would take action specific to cadmium, California's Gov. Schwarzenegger has signed legislation that restricts cadmium levels in children's jewelry, following similar legislation in Connecticut, Illinois, and Minnesota. The new California law prohibits manufacturing, shipping, or selling jewelry or jewelry components that contains more than 0.03 percent cadmium by weight starting January 1, 2012. Cadmium can harm kidneys and bones and cause cancer.

With California now on the list, the ban could effectively become nationwide for manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of children’s jewelry that do not have (or do not want) state-specific distribution systems. Such companies should review current practices to ensure compliance.