CHICAGO – July 29, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that will protect children from being exposed to jewelry containing high levels of cadmium, a harmful metal that can cause illness. The new law enhances existing federal regulations.
“Parents should be confident that children’s jewelry is free from harmful materials,” said Governor Quinn. “This bill gives them that assurance, and protects the health of children throughout Illinois.”
House Bill 5040, sponsored by Rep. Naomi Jakobsson (D-Champaign) and Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), prohibits the manufacturing, sale or distribution of any children’s jewelry that contains cadmium in any paint or surface coating that exceeds 75 parts per million.
Cadmium is a metal found in small quantities in rocks and soil, and is also a byproduct of the production of other metals. Its main use is in batteries, with other smaller uses in pigments, coatings and platings. People are routinely exposed to low levels of cadmium, mainly through food and smoking.
People who have been exposed to high levels of cadmium in food or water suffered intestinal irritation and damage, leading to vomiting and diarrhea. Exposure to lower levels of cadmium over a longer time period results in accumulation of cadmium mainly in the kidneys and also the liver. Build-up of cadmium in the kidneys over time can eventually lead to kidney damage, and long time exposure can also cause bones to become fragile.
The new law will help reduce or eliminate children’s exposure to cadmium by strictly limiting their content in certain children’s products.
The law passed the Illinois General Assembly unanimously and is effective immediately.