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Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Cadmium - what's in a bit of heavy metal

I was going to do something on high sugar drinks, but the news of the day is Health Canada is proposing much stricter limits on cadmium in children's jewelery - only 130 parts per million.  Sounds proactive and thankfully some action is being taken.

Cadmium in jewelery is in essence a replacement for lead.  An example of a public health dilemmia, in moving to fix one public health problem, the solution also has health consequences. 

Most of us consume small amounts of cadmium in our food.  There is a "safe" consumption level established.

2010 brought attention to high doses of cadmium in certain children's toys. The highest of these levels were around 900,000 parts per million - yes that is 90% pure cadmium. 

Late in 2010, Health Canada requested voluntary cessation of importation and distribution of jewelery identified with higher cadmium content levels. 

So today, we have the political dance in action, a proposed level without clarity on how long the consultation process will take, what form it will take or when decisions will be made.

Looks like someone is floating a cadmium balloon to test the reaction.  

If you would like to join in the discussion, link to http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/legislation/consultation/_2011cadmium/index-eng.php .  If you are interested in the process of risk assessment, this is a reasonable example to walk through - albeit technical.

The remaining question - when cadmium is removed, what will replace it? 

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