Major retailers that sell jewelry, including Gap Inc., Forever 21 Inc. and Target Corp., have reached a settlement with a California environmental group that would all but ban the use of cadmium in those items.
The legal agreement, approved by an Alameda County Superior Court judge, sets strict limits on the toxic heavy metal, which can cause cancer, genetic problems and kidney damage.
By Dec. 31, children's and adult jewelry sold by the companies must contain no more than 0.03% of cadmium, according to the settlement between the Center for Environmental Health and the retail companies.
All of the firms included in the settlement were found to have sold jewelry containing high levels of cadmium in the last year and a half, said Charles Margulis, a spokesman for the Center for Environmental Health. The Oakland-based nonprofit group sued the companies after it bought and tested the jewelry.