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24 August 2011

Canada Takes Action to Restrict Sale of Cadmium-Containing Children’s Jewellery

 

Interested parties have until 10 October to provide input on a proposal unveiled by Health Canada 25 July that would ban the sale of children’s jewellery containing more than trace amounts of cadmium. The proposal would establish a maximum cadmium content limit of 130 ppm (0.013 percent) for children’s jewellery, which Canadian authorities believe would be sufficient to protect children from cadmium poisoning following accidental ingestion or prolonged licking and sucking of these products. Canadian authorities note that the proposed standard is based on total cadmium content as opposed to cadmium migration because standardised migration testing cannot accurately predict the amount of this heavy metal that might be leached out of a sample in a human stomach over an extended period.

Last autumn Health Canada called on businesses operating in Canada to voluntarily cease the production, importation and sale of children’s jewellery made with the intentional use of cadmium or cadmium-containing materials. Canadian officials expressed concern at the time that certain producers may be substituting cadmium for lead in inexpensive jewellery. Testing by Canadian authorities unearthed children’s jewellery with cadmium content concentrations as high as 93 percent, which compelled the regulator to move beyond a voluntary approach and require children’s jewellery to comply with a mandatory 130 ppm standard.

Canada’s proposed limit on cadmium is more stringent than the 300 ppm standard that is scheduled to enter into force in California on 1 January 2012 but less stringent than the 75 ppm standard approved by Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland and Minnesota.The United States has not established a limit for cadmium in children’s jewellery at the federal level but the CPSC and the EPA have been working hand-in-hand to determine the most effective means for addressing cadmium in toy metal jewellery and other consumer products. In addition, the CPSC began recalling cadmium-containing children’s jewellery last year and issued a total of six recalls involving 12.3 million units. However, the CPSC issued no recalls for cadmium-related hazards during January-July 2011.

 

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Amos Lau          I +86 755 835 857 00.