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TOXIC JEWELRY

Settlement to help limit cadmium in jewelry

LOS ANGELES | More than 20 major national retailers, including Target Corp. and Gap Inc., have reached a settlement with a California environmental group that should almost entirely eliminate the use of the toxic metal cadmium in jewelry and other accessories.

Cadmium is a known carcinogen that also can attack the kidneys and bones. Some manufacturers of children’s metal jewelry were using it instead of lead, which Congress effectively has banned.

The legal agreement, approved by a judge Friday, is between the Oakland-based Center for Environmental Health and 26 retailers and suppliers.

Starting in 2012, jewelry sold at the stores in California must contain less than three-hundreths of a percent of cadmium. Because of the size of California’s market, that effectively becomes a national standard.

GREECE

Borrowing costs hit new record

ATHENS | Debt-crippled Greece’s borrowing costs reached a new record high Tuesday on fears about the country’s austerity program, a new blow as Prime Minister George Papandreou chaired a Cabinet meeting aimed at finding ways to speed up delayed structural reforms.

The interest rate on Greek 10-year government bonds was about 20 percent - some 18 percentage points above the rate for the benchmark German bonds of the same maturity. The borrowing rates of troubled fellow eurozone countries Italy and Spain also came under pressure Tuesday.

Extravagant borrowing costs forced Greece out of international bond markets last year, and the country now relies on international loans to keep solvent.

However, Athens still holds short-term debt auctions and was able to raise $1.8 billion Tuesday in an auction of 26-week treasury bills at a slightly lower interest rate than a similar sale last month.

SERVICE FIRMS

Report: Sector grew at slightly faster pace

Service firms, which employ 90 percent of the U.S. work force expanded at a slightly faster pace in August. But the sector remains too weak to help an economy that is barely growing and struggling to create jobs.

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