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Mickey Mouse Approach to Cadmium Control

Once again, cheap, toxic, cadmium-containing jewellery is in the news, but is it realistic for Health Canada to protect only children from cheap, toxic Chinese jewellery?

“Of course cadmium is inexpensive,” commented Prevent Cancer Now Chair, Meg Sears PhD. “China is exporting toxic waste. They have lots! Cadmium is a known carcinogen, harms every body system, and early-life, low exposures can have lifetime impacts.”

“Cadmium and lead are similar toxic heavy metals, but cadmium, is worse,” continued Dr. Sears. “Pure lead or cadmium are dense – they feel heavy – but how can parents be the front line of prevention, when lab tests are needed to detect the toxin? Cadmium and lead can also be found in paints, plastics and glazes. Health Canada’s draft cadmium strategy has been shelved for years.”

Cadmium is also a concern for Canadian food. It is naturally high in some prairie soils and in Canadian fertilizer. Grains hyperaccumulate cadmium, and Canada exports only selected grains that meet other countries’ cadmium standards. As well, heavy use of glyphosate may mobilize minerals, so cadmium might be increasing in Canadian foods. Canada has no cadmium standard for food, and food quality data requests of Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Grain Commission have yielded no routine surveillance data.

(Media Release, January 2016)