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Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)
Section 101. Children's Products Containing Lead
  and
California's Lead-Containing Jewelry Law

Official information pages:
http://www.cpsc.gov/ABOUT/Cpsia/sect101.html
http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/LeadInJewelry.cfm

Brief Summary of Federal children's jewelry law concerning lead

Effective on February 10, 2009, products designed or intended for children 12 and younger may not contain more than 600 ppm of lead. Starting August 14, 2009, the limit went down to 300 ppm or less of lead. Furthermore, the limit goes down to 100 ppm on August 14, 2011.
 

Brief Summary of California's jewelry law concerning lead

Effective September 1, 2007, for children's jewelry and March 1, 2008, for all other jewelry, including body piercing jewelry, a person must not manufacture, ship, sell or offer for retail sale or promotional purposes jewelry in California unless it is made entirely from one or more of the materials specified in the Table of Materials Required for Jewelry (See the abbreviated table below). A stricter limit is set for children 6 and younger.
 

Q. Why regulate the lead content in children's products?

Lead is a well-known poison and affects many different parts of the body. Not only does it cause physical harm at high levels such as stomachaches, headaches and/or muscle weakness, long-term and/or frequent exposure at a low level leads to the build-up of lead in the body. It is more harmful to the developing brains and nervous systems of young children than to adults. Children with low blood lead levels may not show such physical symptoms, but it causes behavioral and neurological problems such as irritability, memory loss, and reduced IQ.
 
More information can be found at the following websites:
WebMD - Lead Poisoning
MedLinePlus - Lead Poisoning
 

Q. Which products do we need to worry about?

Lead is traditionally included in crystal to enhance its brilliant appearance and strength. So, many of the crystal beads are not considered safe for children. Modern pewter no longer contains lead. However, the old pewter as well as cast plated pewter may still contain some lead. Cloisonné beads, many of which are produced in China may also contain some lead.
 

Q. Are the metals used in rosaries and rosary bracelets safe?

Certain precious metals and metal alloys have been tested by Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in response to the exclusion request by jewelry producers and retailers. They are:

  • Gold (10 kt or higher quality)
  • Sterling Silver
  • precious gemstones
  • most of semi-precious gemstones
  • natural or cultured pearls
  • wood

These materials are, therefore, considered safe. Other base metals such as nickel silver and gold-fill require testing or certificate of compliance to determine the safety. The full document in the PDF file for this decision can be found at CPSC web site. We also obtained the certificate for lead-free Czech glass beads and these are safe as well
 

Q. Which rosaries and rosary bracelets are safe for children?

The rosaries entirely made of materials listed above are considered safe for children 12 years and younger. Such rosaries are featured in First Communion and Baptism pages. As for other rosaries and rosary bracelets, unless we can show proof of compliance with the laws for all the components of each rosary and/or rosary bracelet, it is considered a "banned hazardous substance" and we cannot sell it for children 12 years and younger. To show proof of compliance, we need to either obtain the certificates of compliance for the components from the manufacturers and/or suppliers, or test them ourselves using goverment-certified laboratories.
 

Materials allowed in jewelry designed for adults in California

Class 1 Materials

  • Karat gold; sterling silver; platinum, palladium, iridium, ruthenium, rhodium, or osmium;
  • Natural or cultured pearls; glass, ceramic, or crystal decorative components, including cat’s eye, cubic zirconia, cubic zirconium (CZ), rhinestones, and cloisonné
  • Gemstones cut and polished for ornamental purposes (excluding aragonite, bayldonite, boleite, cerussite, crocoite, ekanite, linarite, mimetite, phosgenite, samarskite, vanadinite, and wulfenite)
  • All natural decorative material, including amber, bone, coral, shell, wood, that is in its natural state and is not treated in a way that adds lead.

Class 2 Materials

  • Electroplated metal (a metal alloy <6% lead by weight electroplated with suitable under and finish coats)
  • Unplated metal <1.5% lead not otherwise listed as a class 1 material
  • Plastic or rubber, including acrylic, polystyrene, plastic beads and stones (<0.02% (200 ppm) lead by weight)

Class 3 Materials

  • Any portion of jewelry that meets both of the following criteria:
    (Not a class 1 or class 2 material and contains <0.06% (600 ppm) lead by weight)

Materials allowed in jewelry designed for children 6 and younger in California

  • A nonmetallic class 1 material
  • A nonmetallic class 2 material
  • A metallic material that is either a class 1 material or contains <0.06% (600 ppm) lead by weight
  • Glass or crystal decorative components that weigh in total no more than 1 gram, excluding any glass or crystal decorative component that contains <0.02% (200 ppm) lead by weight and has no intentionally added lead
  • Printing ink or ceramic glaze that contains <0.06% (600 ppm)lead by weight
  • Class 3 material that contains <0.02% (200 ppm) lead by weight

 

Updated on June 22, 2010

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