Wal-Mart said Wednesday it is pulling an entire line of Miley Cyrus-brand necklaces and bracelets from its shelves after tests performed for The Associated Press found the jewelry contained high levels of the toxic metal cadmium.
In a statement issued three hours after AP's initial report of its findings, Wal-Mart said it would remove the jewelry while it investigates. The statement was issued along with Cyrus and Max Azria, the designer that developed the jewelry for the 17-year-old "Hannah Montana" star.
In the statement, Wal-Mart said that while the jewelry is not intended for children, "it is possible that a few younger consumers may seek it out in stores."
"We are removing all of the jewelry from sale while we investigate its compliance with our children's jewelry standard," Wal-Mart said.
Cadmium in jewelry is not known to be dangerous if the items are simply worn. Concerns come when youngsters bite or suck on the jewelry, as many children are apt to do.
Long-term exposure to cadmium can lead to bone softening and kidney failure. It is also a known carcinogen, and research suggests that it can, like lead, hinder brain development in the very young.
Testing of 61 samples bought by AP reporters across the country from the Miley Cyrus line and from an unrelated line of bracelet charms showed that 59 of the pieces contained at least 5 percent cadmium by weight, with 53 of those measuring 10 percent or higher. The packaging on both lines of jewelry said they were made in China; all were bought for $6 or less.
In its statement, Wal-Mart did not say whether it would also remove the bracelet charms.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. received test results in February showing cadmium in these jewelry lines but had continued selling the items.
The chain said last month that it has begun requiring suppliers to prove their products contain little cadmium, or else Wal-Mart would not accept the items. But Wal-Mart said at the time that testing products already on its shelves would be too difficult.
Wal-Mart did not say how many of pieces of the Miley Cyrus pieces it has sold.