Originally published: March 20, 2017
Updated: March 7, 2020
When tested with a high-precision XRF instrument, these silicone “chew beads” (meant for mom to wear around her neck so baby can chew on them while baby is being carried / held) were Lead-free [Non Detect (“ND”) for Pb]. They were also ND for Arsenic & Mercury! However, they tested positive for Cadmium, at 13 ppm.
Is this a lot of Cadmium?
The amount of Cadmium found in the beads of this necklace is considered “safe by all standards”. What are these standards you ask? There is no total content limit for XRF detectable Cadmium in consumer goods on a federal level in the United States. The total content limit for Cadmium in the State of Washington is 40 ppm and the total content limit for Cadmium in the country of Denmark is 75 ppm. HOWEVER – as you know if you are a regular reader of my blog – my concern across the board is that standards limiting heavy metal toxicants in items intended for use by babies are not strict enough.
Tamara, would you let your baby play with this?
Given the intention is for babies to chew on these beads – I would not feel comfortable having one of my children chew on one of these items in the absence of having the specific item tested (sort of glad I missed this phase / these were not available when my boys were tiny – because I would have otherwise thought this to be a very cool idea!)
- Cadmium is often present in the many silicone items I have tested.
- More specifically many newly-manufactured silicone products that I have tested have been positive for “trace” levels of Cadmium — while some Cadmium levels in silicone products have actually been far greater than just trace levels.
- By “trace” levels I usually am referring to levels in the single or low double digit ppm range for a toxicant found in consumer goods.
- By “trace” levels I also normally mean levels that are in a range (taking into account the margin of error for the reading) that would be considered safe by all current known standards.
- However – Cadmium is a known carcinogen (it causes cancer).
The toxicant profile of these products can also vary greatly from batch to batch (even for the same product made by the same manufacturer in the same year – with some batches having higher Cadmium levels and some batches having lower levels.) Not only do levels vary from batch to batch, but Cadmium levels in silicone chew toys and silicone baking tools tend also to vary fairly significantly by color, making even trying to choose a Cadmium-free one of these chew toys relatively impossible for a consumer who does not have access to a high-precision XRF instrument to test each and every one separately! Accordingly, in general, with rare exceptions, I do not recommend any silicone products.
Usually – like with this black silicone chew bead necklace – if I am finding any Cadmium in these baby items it is in the range of 10 to 35 ppm. While these trace levels most often found in silicone products intended for use by babies are considered safe by all standards, given the objects are intended for babies to put in their mouths I still question the relative safety of the products – regardless of the official standards they may meet. I’m a bit of a radical, I guess! I prefer that products intended to go in the mouths of our youngest children have no Cadmium at all (not just “safe levels” of Cadmium.)
As always, thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.
Please let me know if you have any questions.