LOS ANGELES -- Federal regulators said Wednesday they have found high levels of the toxic metal cadmium in trinkets that were distributed for free to children at some doctor and dentist offices over the past five years.
The news came as the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of nearly 70,000 charm bracelets and rings -- the fourth time this year that the federal government has said cheap Chinese-made jewelry was being pulled from shelves because of cadmium, a known carcinogen.
Cadmium is a naturally occurring metal that, if ingested, can weaken bones and kidneys.
The commission said parents should immediately throw away the approximately 66,200 "Children's Happy Charm Bracelets" and 2,200 rings that have a metal football-shaped charm attached to an adjustable band. The charm bracelets have colored beads and a single metal charm shaped like a butterfly, moon or sun.
The agency has not received any reports of incidents or injuries involving either product. The items were distributed at doctor and dentist offices nationwide between June 2005 and March 2010, the agency said.
The CPSC said it was orchestrating the recall with the distributor of the items, which it identified as SmileMakers Inc. of Spartanburg. Calls and e-mails to SmileMakers requesting comment were not returned. According to the company's website, SmileMakers is a wholly owned subsidiary of Staples Inc.