Some pieces were made of cadmium.
The Associated Press is reporting that jewelry containing cadmium has been sold at several national chain stores, including Ross, Papaya and Nordstrom Rack.
Cadmium is considered toxic and has regulated in California and some other states for use in children's jewelry, but it is not illegal in jewelry for adults. It "can cause cancer and reproductive harm after prolonged exposure," according to AP.
The nonprofit Center for Environmental Health found that 31 adult jewelry items purchased in stores consisted of 40 percent or more cadmium, and some contained much more. All of the products were purchased in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ross told AP in a statement that it had "addressed this issue with our supplier."
An attorney with Papaya told AP that the company had recalled products in which cadmium was discovered and had ceased purchasing from the manufacturer, which is located in China.
A spokeswoman with Nordstrom said her company is contacting vendors to discuss the situation.
AP notes that "the precise health risk from the tested jewelry is unclear." Skin absorption of cadmium has not been thoroughly studied.
The issue of cadmium in jewelry came to public attention after a 2010 AP investigation.
Read more at The Associated Press
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