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
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.