Most women depend on jewelry to complete their look.
"Jewelry is just an extension of you; its your expression," said Marcia Paige.
As a cancer survivor, Paige trusts that what she puts next to her skin is safe, but she and other women are taking a second glance at their jewelry boxes these days over mounting concerns with cadmium.
On Tuesday, The Center for Environmental Health released test results that showed high levels of the toxic metal in adult jewelry. The group found retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue, Aeropostale, and Catherine's had merchandise containing high levels of cadmium.
One of those items included a pink " breast cancer awareness" charm bracelet from Catherine's.
"A piece of jewelry that shows their support because it has the pink ribbon, and then to find out that something they wanted to show their support with... is very unhealthy," said Paige.
The baubles were mainly produced China where cadmium is cheap and easy to use. The metal replaced lead when the U.S. banned it from jewelry and toys.
"Lead was the problem, everyone knew lead was a problem they just went and substituted cadmium, which is just as bad," said Professor Partha Krishnamurdhy.
Krishnamurdhy is an Associate Marketing Director with the University of Houston Bauer College of Business. He said American consumers tend to associate products with their countries, like German cars and Japanese electronics are perceived as quality, while China has a different reputation.
"More than anything else people don't want a product to hurt them, and that's the bottom-line," he said.
And that could hurt the bottom-line of Chinese manufactures that will be forced to cleanup their act if they want us to buy their products.
"And while right now, there is no federal laws against cadmium, I am hoping that this builds some awareness that we need some kind of standards," said Paige.
So far, only Catherine's has pulled all of its pink "breast cancer awareness" bracelets from its stores.
The Center for Environmental Health said it would seek a ban on cadmium in all jewelry.