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Fake and Fatal: Poisonous Fake Jewelry

There are days when you could be walking through Target, or Forever 21, or any other retailer, and you, your daughter, your niece, or granddaughter may see a pair of inexpensive fake earrings that you or she likes. So, you buy it thinking, “Oh, what can it hurt?” Turns out it could hurt, a lot more than you could have expected.

An extensive study by found hazardous levels of lead, arsenic in fake jewelry from fourteen different stores in five different states, showing it isn’t an isolated incident. From Claire’s to Big Lots and Burlington Coat factory, fake jewelry tested not only showed the presence of materials like PVC, bromide, cadmium, arsenic and lead, but even surpassed the legal amounts designated for children’s products, who are the targeted consumers.

Chemicals like lead, cadmium, and arsenic are not only extremely toxic, but even in small doses cause irreversible damage. Lead alone is linked to developmental and neurological damage as well as anemia and kidney damage. Cadmium, a heavy metal used in painting supplies and PVC, also causes learning disabilities and lung damage. Arsenic is correlated to type 2 diabetes and tied to both cardiovascular and hormone disorders.

These three deadly chemicals were all found to be above the legal limit in some jewelry. Twelve percent of jewelry had arsenic above the legal limit, ten percent for cadmium and a a staggering twenty-seven percent had lead above the legal limit. Overall, fifty nine percent of the products tested were marked for high concern, and not each one was tested for every chemical as well.

What is also distressing is that although not all the fake jewelry tested had the presence of these chemicals, it is impossible to tell the difference between the two upon looks alone. The tests showed that it also didn’t matter if it was a jewelry meant to appear as metal or crystal, these chemicals were detected in both.

So what can you do? Limit you and your loved ones’ time with the jewelry and never allow children to put it in their mouths. Or, instead of buying such jewelry, spend the money on true gold and silver jewelry, it lasts longer and may save you medical distress and bills in the future. If you have small children, make this an opportunity to explore other craft jewelry you can make together without indulging in fake Jewelry. Glass bead jewelry is in, make a few bracelets with your children and give yourself piece of mind.

Hopefully as consumers become more aware of the products they buy, companies will have to start being more contentious about the products they make and sell. The petitioning for laws and penalties have already rolled into effect, and perhaps labels and banning will be coming out in the future. Until then, I wouldn’t risk it.

To read the study results click here.