Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America (MJSA) members can begin taking advantage of a timely new benefit: two affordable quality control programs that will help companies comply with the tough new federal restrictions on lead in children's jewelry.
One program, the product of 15 months of research, planning, and testing, provides expert lab services at special prices negotiated by MJSA. ESS Laboratory (www.esslaboratory.com), a division of Thielsch Engineering in Cranston, Rhode Island, will test jewelry for MJSA members at rates at least 18 percent below its standard rates. (The lab may offer higher discounts to large-volume customers.)
ESS, accredited by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, fulfills the lead law's third-party lab requirement, but its value to MJSA members does not end there. As of Jan. 1, 2009, California requires that documentation of compliance with the state's lead law be available for all jewelry, based on test procedures similar to those required for federal compliance. ESS also is a resource for companies whose customers demand certification that components, raw materials, or finished jewelry meet the federal lead standards (600 ppm now, 300 ppm beginning Aug. 14, 2009) even though the goods are not subject to a government testing requirement.
ESS will work to help customers recover their precious metals from the acid solution used for testing if sufficient quantities are involved.
And because lead tests are bound to turn up trouble at some companies, the second MJSA program gives members access to a select pool of jewelry manufacturing experts that includes J. Tyler Teague, James Troiano, and Kris Vaithinathan. John McCloskey and Howard Schachter also may participate. All have decades of experience at companies such as Stuller, Hoover & Strong, Monet, and Engelhard. They will be available on-site or by phone to help diagnose problems and find solutions at special member rates.
The federal lead law created a heavy burden for the jewelry industry. Children's jewelry without certificates of compliance based on CPSC-accredited, third-party lab tests cannot be imported or distributed in the United States. Possible civil and criminal penalties for noncompliance are high, and liability lies with the domestic manufacturer or importer.
MJSA's quality control program may lighten that burden for members.