Last updateTue, 17 Apr 2018 11pm

CPSC, legislators vow to regulate cadmium levels in children’s jewelry

MJSA encourages members to take precautionary steps

(ATTLEBORO FALLS, Mass.) - Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America (MJSA) has alerted its members to take precautionary steps to ensure any base metal jewelry imported into the U.S. market is not made with cadmium. The alert came following an Associated Press (AP) investigation of U.S. retail outlets, in which 12 of 103 pieces of mainly Chinese-made children’s costume jewelry were found to contain dangerous amounts of the toxic metal-a finding that has spurred the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and state and federal legislators to vow regulatory action.

MJSA noted that cadmium is mostly found in non-precious, white-metal alloys for cast costume jewelry, and in some solders. It also said that most solder and lead-free alloys now used in U.S. manufacturing had no cadmium added; if they had any cadmium at all, there would only be trace amounts.

However, experts interviewed by the AP in Yiwu, a city that dominates China’s low- to mid-range jewelry making industry, said cadmium-containing alloys were being used by Chinese manufacturers in greater amounts because cadmium’s price had fallen and it could be worked at lower temperatures, saving energy and prompting less frequent changes to silicon rubber molds. An official with China’s product safety agency told the AP it would examine the findings on cadmium contamination. China reportedly does restrict cadmium in jewelry, but enforcement is lax.

Cadmium ranks seventh on the U.S. government’s priority list of hazardous substances, according to data from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The CPSC announced Jan. 10 that it was launching an investigation “to take action as quickly as possible to protect the safety of children.” Several state officials and federal legislators also vowed to take quick action to ban cadmium in children’s jewelry.

MJSA said in its alert that there are currently no specific cadmium restrictions on jewelry. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), enacted in 2008, does regulate cadmium in painted toys, and the CPSC has the power to target cadmium based on the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.

MJSA advised its members to require all suppliers of non-precious, white-metal alloys for cast costume jewelry or solders to provide documentation concerning cadmium content (if any), and to consider third-party testing to confirm assurances of safe levels.

In a survey of four labs currently accredited by the CPSC to test jewelry for lead content, MJSA found that testing for cadmium content is a similar process as that for lead and is available at comparable cost. The labs expect that if the U.S. acts to ban cadmium, they will obtain any added accreditation to handle testing of this metal.

For more information, call MJSA at 1-800-444-6572 or visit www.mjsa.org.