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China’s manufacturing sector continues to take safety hits as investigations continue into children’s jewelry exported to the United States contains cadmium, a highly toxic metal used to make batteries and plastics.

Another manufacturing incident last year found lead in toys made in China. In this case, Chinese manufacturers are substituting cadmium for lead in children’s charm bracelets and pendants. Lab tests showed “extraordinarily high levels” of cadmium in some pieces, according to a published report. The metal can cause cancer and, like lead, can impede brain development in the very young.[private]

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said it was launching an investigation.

China is also investigating the claims, the state media reported.

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“We’ve heard about it and are looking for more information,” an official surnamed Song, who heads toy safety at the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine was quoted by the China Daily as saying.

“We need to find out whether the accused products came out of China through legal means.”

Song said children’s jewelry was not on the government’s mandatory inspection list.

U.S. department stores Walmart and Claire’s Stores removed Chinese-made children’s jewelry from their shelves.

Cadmium is a highly toxic metal used in batteries, metal coatings and plastics and can cause lung cancer, according to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

China’s poorly regulated manufacturing industry has suffered safety scandals involving dangerous foods, toys and other products.[/private]

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