Posts Tagged ‘ jewelry ’

Baltic Amber Teething Necklaces Could Pose Choking Hazard

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Baltic amber teething necklaces, which have been in high demand among fashion-conscious moms since model Gisele Bündchen posted a photo last summer of one of the necklaces on her baby, may pose a serious choking hazard, according to a group of bloggers and doctors who are working to get the message out about the necklaces’ dangers.  More from The New York Times:

Baltic amber necklaces, as they are known, have become popular as an alternative treatment to ease teething pain in infants and toddlers in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and, increasingly, the United States. Retailers claim that when warmed by the baby’s body temperature, the amber releases a pain-relieving substance that is then absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream.

But there is no evidence to back up these claims, and a larger concern is the significant suffocation hazard posed by the teething necklaces, particularly if children are left unattended.

“The risk is two-fold — strangulation and choking,” said Dr. Natasha Burgert, a pediatrician in Kansas City, Mo., who has blogged about the dangers of amber necklaces. “And that’s not only for these teething necklaces. In general practice, the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend that infants wear any jewelry.”

In 2010, Health Canada, the country’s federal department of public health, determined that the necklaces were enough of an issue to warrant a consumer product safety warning that highlighted the strangulation risk. France and Switzerland have banned sale of the necklaces in pharmacies.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suffocation is the leading cause of death for children under a year old and among the top five causes of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4.

Vendors of Baltic amber necklaces commonly advertise that the necklaces are safe because the string is knotted between each individual bead, so if the necklace breaks only one piece will fall off. But one loose bead is enough for a child to choke on, said Dr. Isabelle Claudet, head of the pediatric emergency department at Children’s Hospital in Toulouse, France. And because the necklaces are produced and sold by smaller vendors, the lack of manufacturing standards makes it impossible to guarantee that any safety clasps will come apart as intended if the necklace becomes caught on anything, increasing the potential for strangulation.

Image: Amber beaded jewelry, via Shutterstock

Add a Comment

California to Sue Kids’ Jewelry Companies for Lead Violations

Friday, July 20th, 2012

The state of California is bringing a lawsuit against 16 companies that make jewelry marketed to children because the companies’ products violate the state’s limits on how much lead a product can contain.  The Associated Press has more:

State investigators uncovered hundreds of lead-laced trinkets marketed to children and adults, including some pieces contaminated with lead levels more than 1,000 times the legal state limit.

The state was expected to file a lawsuit Tuesday against 16 companies — retailers, wholesalers, suppliers and distributors — doing business in Los Angeles and elsewhere. The companies are accused of violating lead standards and engaging in deceptive practices by falsely advertising tainted jewelry as lead-free.

For the past three years, inspectors at the state Department of Toxic Substances Control conducted spot checks at stores and factories, zapping necklaces, earrings, hair clips and tiaras with hand-held X-ray devices to check for lead. Items with high lead content were then shipped to a laboratory for detailed analysis. Jewelry items containing the toxic metal were mostly inexpensive.

Image: Girl’s bracelet, via Shutterstock.

Add a Comment

Report: Many Types of Children’s Jewelry Contain Toxic Chemicals

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

More than half of all low-cost jewelry on the market in the U.S.–including jewelry intended for children–contains toxic chemicals and heavy metals, a new study by the Michigan-based Ecology Center has found.  The study found lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, bromine, and chlorine (PVC) in the jewelry they analyzed.  These substances have been linked in animal and some human studies to acute allergies as well as long-term health impacts such as birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, and cancer.

“Toxic jewelry is a symptom of the complete failure of our federal chemical regulatory system,” said Jeff Gearhart, research director at the Ecology Center and founder of, in a statement.  ”Our children will never be safe until we reform our chemical laws to ensure products are safe before they arrive on store shelves.”

Visit for a more detailed report on which chemicals were most often found in low-cost jewelry.

Image: Child’s bracelet, via Shutterstock.

Add a Comment