California Tightens Heavy Metal Restrictions on Jewellery

California recently approved legislation tightening the current restrictions on the sale of children’s jewellery containing certain heavy metals.

Specifically, California is reducing the maximum lead limit in children’s jewellery from 0.06 percent (600 parts per million) to 0.009 percent (90 ppm) of lead by weight for surface coatings and 0.01 percent (100 ppm) of lead by weight for accessible components of children’s jewellery, aligning those limits with the total lead content requirements of the federal Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. In addition the cadmium limit for surface coatings of jewellery is being revised from 300 ppm to 75 ppm soluble cadmium by weight, while the cadmium limit for jewellery components will remain at 300 ppm. Moreover, California is aligning its definition of “children” with that adopted by Canada by broadening the definition from persons six years of age and younger to persons under 15 years of age.

With regard to adult jewellery, the recently-approved legislation will lower the lead content limit for electroplated metal, unplated metal, and dyes or surface coatings to 0.05 percent (500 ppm) of lead by weight and the lead content limit for plastic or rubber to 0.02 percent (200 ppm) of lead by weight, effective 1 June 2020. The manufacturer or supplier certification will also be required to include additional details about the jewellery covered by the certification, including the date or dates on which and the location or locations where the jewellery was tested for purposes of certification. The legislation also authorises the use of additional specified test methods to determine compliance with the standards for lead in children’s jewellery.

Jewellery products subject to the California heavy metal restrictions include anklets; arm cuffs; bracelets; brooches; chains; crowns; cuff links; hair accessories; earrings; necklaces; pins; rings; tie clips; body piercing jewellery; jewellery placed in the mouth for display or ornament; beads, chains, links, pendants or other components of an ornament specified above; removable charms, beads, chains, links, pendants or other attachments to shoes or clothing; and watches in which the timepiece is part of an ornament specified above, excluding the timepiece itself if it can be removed from the ornament.

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