The US Washington State Department of Ecology (DOC) examined children’s jewellery to investigate heavy metals in children’s jewellery in 2015. Cadmium, lead, and five other toxic metals (antimony, arsenic, cobalt, mercury, and molybdenum) were analysed. There were in total 159 children’s jewellery in this study, including but not limited to charms, bracelets, rings, decorated hair accessories, earrings, necklaces and some of the jewellery were sold together with garments.
The results showed surprisingly high levels of toxic metals in jewellery sold as an accessory with an article of clothing. However, the jewellery items that were sold separately did not have such high level of heavy metals. A necklace sold together with a children’s dress contained cadmium content up to 98.4%. Moreover, lead was the most frequently detected metal and the highest detected concentration was over than 5%.
Children’s jewellery are regulated under Washington’s Children’s Product Safety Act (CPSA). Table A summarises the legal requirements.
Table A. Restriction and reporting requirements of CPSA
Total cadmium: 40 ppm
Total lead: 90 ppm
Sum of 6 Phthalates: 0.1% by weight
Intentionally added in product at any concentration above the Chemicals of High Concern (CHCC)’s Practical Quantification Limit (PQL); or
Present as a contaminant at any concentration
For products that appear to violate the Washington's Children's Safe Products Act, responsible parties including manufacturers, distributors, and/or retailers are required to take corrective action or are subject to penalties. The non-compliance cases are also submitted to the Consumer Product Safety Commission for enforcement of federal law.