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Asian Firms Warned Against Using Toxins in Toys

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Asian manufacturers shouldn't try to substitute other toxic substances for lead in children's jewelry and other items sold in the United States, says the head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

U.S. law forbids the use of lead in children's toys and jewelry.

In taped remarks to be delivered Tuesday in Hong Kong, Inez Tenenbaum warned that her agency would keep a close watch on the imported products, the Associated Press reported.

"I would highly encourage all of you to ensure that toy manufacturers and children's product manufacturers in your country are not substituting cadmium, antimony, barium, in place of lead," Tenenbaum said in a transcript of a speech to children's products manufacturers, exporters and regulators. "All of us should be committed to keeping hazardous or toxic levels of heavy metals out of ... toys and children's products."

On Sunday, the AP reported that some Chinese manufacturers substitute cadmium for lead in inexpensive charm bracelets and pendants sold in the United States. That prompted U.S. officials to launch an investigation.

Along with being a known carcinogen, cadmium can hinder brain development in very young children. Youngsters can get persistent, low-level doses of cadmium by biting or sucking jewelry with a high level of the toxic metal.

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