Wal-Mart stores have been told to clear their shelves of Chinese-made children's jewelry that may contain the toxic chemical cadmium, which is known to cause cancer and can hinder children's brain development.
The retail giant took the action after an Associated Press investigation revealed that some Chinese manufacturers have been using cadmium in place of lead. U.S. law forbids the use of lead in children's toys and jewelry, but cadmium is even more dangerous.
The findings are "troubling," said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Melissa Hill, who added that the company had a special responsibility "to take swift action, and we are doing so."
Cadmium appeals to Chinese manufacturers because it's cheap and easy to work with, the AP reported.
U.S. lawmakers were angry to hear that cadmium was found in children's jewelry.
"Parents will be outraged to learn certain jewelry makers overseas thought they could pull a fast one at the expense of our kids' safety," said Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, who has pushed for more stringent regulation of children's products, the AP reported.