According to the latest Consumer Reports tests, some children’s and household products contain lead or cadmium at “worrisome” levels despite “sweeping new rules and increased vigilance” by manufacturers and retailers to limit toxic metal levels.  

Federal regulations call for the current standard of 300 parts per million (ppm) lead limit for all children’s products to drop to 100 ppm by August 2011, but there are no clear standards for cadmium, which Consumer Reports calls a “newly recognized threat.”  

The magazine apparently tested heavy metals in more than 30 products, including children’s jewelry and other products, window shades, pens, sunglasses, and lipstick. According to a report summary, published in the October 2010 Consumer Reports issue, 14 of the products showed “relatively high levels” of toxic metals, and three products had “heavy metals near or above regulatory limits or levels that could be hazardous under certain circumstances.” The three items were a clover-shaped cell phone charm “with lead levels so high that it would be illegal if it were considered a children’s product,” a metal hair barrette with small colored rhinestones “with total cadmium at levels as high as 292,000 ppm,” and a children’s vinyl raincoat “with parts that exceeded legal lead limits for children’s products.”  

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is currently developing specific exposure limits for cadmium in children’s products. “The limits on lead are well defined for children’s products, but lead and cadmium also should be regulated in products that can result in exposure via direct ingestion, such as cell-phone charms or garden hoses from which consumers might drink,” the magazine’s editors were quoted as saying. See PR Newswire, September 7, 2010.