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From Products Liability Law Daily, December 12, 2016

Canada proposes amendment to children’s jewelry regulations

By Colleen Kave, J.D.

Canada’s Department of Health has proposed to amend the Children’s Jewellery Regulations under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act to replace the current 600 milligram per kilogram (mg/kg) total lead limit and 90 mg/kg migratable lead limit with a single 90 mg/kg total lead limit for all children’s jewelry items, and to add a 130 mg/kg total cadmium limit for children’s jewelry items small enough to be swallowed by a child. The proposed amendments are designed to help protect children against serious risks to health from chewing, sucking, or swallowing children’s jewelry containing lead or cadmium by introducing a limit on total cadmium content and further restricting total lead levels in children’s jewelry products to levels more protective than current requirements (Canada Gazette Vol. 150, December 3, 2016).

The department asserted that the lead content limit of the proposed amendments is consistent with the international health and safety objective of reducing the intentional use of lead as much as possible and ensures that the lead limits are consistent across the Canadian regulatory regime. The proposed cadmium limit is comparable to the European Union limit of 100 mg/kg total cadmium for costume jewelry. The United States does not have federal cadmium limits for children’s jewelry. A cost-benefit analysis of the proposed amendments concluded that total industry costs would be an estimated $4.6 million over 20 years when discounted at 7%, but benefits would outweigh costs if one fatality was avoided within approximately six years of adopting the proposed limits.

Noting the adverse health effects of lead, the department explained that not only are children more susceptible to the toxic effects of lead than adults, but cadmium, another metal found in children’s jewelry in Canada within the last five years, is also very toxic. Young children are much more likely to be exposed to lead and cadmium in children’s jewelry because of their propensity for mouthing and swallowing objects.

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