Vietnam finds cadmium in Chinese jewelry

TN News

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Most undocumented jewelry items from China contain lead and cadmium, Ho Chi Minh City market management officials have found.

But the officials have not measured the amount of the toxin in polished and plated jewelry taken from four shops in An Dong and Hoa Binh Markets in District 5.

Around 7,500 jewelry items including necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings will be destroyed after authorities seized them in inspections. Another 105 white necklaces also from the shops were found to be safe, the officials said. Cadmium is a highly toxic chemical.

The shop owners, whose names were not released, were fined VND750,000-2.5 million (US$40-134) each.

News about Chinese jewelry laced with cadmium sold for children in the US raised fears among Vietnamese consumers late last year. The jewelry is popular in Vietnam but sellers and buyers have no information on which products are toxic or about how toxic they really are.

According to media reports about the US incident last year, retail giant WalMart had pulled bracelet and pendant jewelry lines from its stores while Chinese authorities launched an investigation against several jewelry exporters suspected of exporting cadmium-laced jewelry to the US.

Cadmium is more precious than silver but not as much as gold, said Vietnamese chemistry professors.

Inhaling cadmium can be dangerous and even fatal as the chemical is considered carcinogenic and harmful to the kidney and bones, they said.

Prof. Le Van Cat from the Vietnam Chemistry Institute said cadmium in jewelry would be safe in theory because a very little amount is used, but it can be dangerous when children hold it in their mouth.

Also on Thursday, health inspectors in the south central province of Binh Thuan suspended the Taiwan-owned ERH-HU company, which sold functional foods. The general director Chen I Chih failed to produce documents for his products Galatosamime, Glucidamiclas and Glucosamine. Samples from the shop have been taken.

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