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Consumer Product Safety

Industry Guide to Children's Jewellery

Table of Contents

Introduction

This document provides information about the safety requirements that apply under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) and under the Children's Jewellery Regulations to children's jewellery that is manufactured, imported, advertised or sold in Canada.

Additionally, this document will explain how this legislation applies to the lead content of children's jewellery; define children's jewellery and help identify which products fall within the scope of the legislation; and specify the analytical test methods used for children's jewellery.

This document is an unofficial summary of the safety requirements for children's jewellery under the Children's Jewellery Regulations. It is not intended to substitute for, supersede or limit the requirements under the applicable legislation. In case of any discrepancy between this summary and the legislation, the legislation will prevail. For further information, contact a Health Canada Consumer Product Safety Office via email (cps-spc@hc-sc.gc.ca) or telephone at 1-866-662-0666 (toll-free within Canada and the United States).

To obtain information on the legislative requirements for children's jewellery not covered in this document, refer to the Next link will take you to another Web site Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and its Regulations listed under Appendix B - Information Resources.

This document may be updated from time to time. For the most recent version, consult Health Canada's website.

Legislation

Children's jewellery manufactured, imported, advertised or sold in Canada are subject to the CCPSA and Children's Jewellery Regulations.

In addition to the product-specific requirements noted in this document, it is prohibited to manufacture, import, advertise or sell any consumer product that is a "danger to human health or safety" as defined in the CCPSA (see paragraphs 7(a) and 8(a)).

The onus is on industry to comply with the legislation.

The Consumer Product Safety Program administers and enforces the CCPSA and the regulations made under it. Enforcement actions taken by Product Safety Officers on noncompliant products depend on the degree of hazard associated with noncompliance, and include commitment to product correction by industry, negotiation with industry for the voluntary removal of these products from the market, seizure and/or prosecution under the CCPSA. Any person that manufactures, imports, advertises, or sells noncompliant products that result in property damage, injury or death may also be subject to legal liability.

Requirements under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and its regulations

Under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA), the Children's Jewellery Regulations and Surface Coating Materials Regulations regulate the importation, advertisement or sale in Canada of children's jewellery items which contain lead. The regulations set limits on lead content in order to protect children from toxicity associated with lead exposure.

Children's Jewellery Regulations

Definition

The Children's Jewellery Regulations define children's jewellery as:

Jewellery that is manufactured, sized, decorated, packaged, advertised or sold in a manner that appeals primarily to children under 15 years of age but does not include merit badges, medals for achievement or other similar objects normally worn only occasionally.

See page 9 for examples of children's jewellery.

Requirement

Children's jewellery, when tested using good laboratory practices, must not contain more than 600 mg/kg of total lead and no more than 90 mg/kg of migratable leadFootnote 1.

Both the total lead limit and the migratable lead limit must be met.

Good laboratory practices

"Good laboratory practices" means practices that are in accordance with the principles set out in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) document entitled OECD Principles of Good Laboratory Practice,Number 1 of the OECD Series on Principles of Good Laboratory Practice and Compliance Monitoring, ENV/MC/CHEM(98)17, the English version of which is dated January 21, 1998 and the French version of which is dated March 6, 1998. (For a link see "Information resources", on page 12 of this guide.)

The Children's Jewellery Regulations permit the importation, advertising or sale in Canada of children's jewellery that does not contain more than 600 mg/kg of total lead and more than 90 mg/kg of migratable lead in any component. The lead content limits apply to all accessible components of children's jewellery items, whether metallic or non-metallic, including glass and crystal components.

A component is considered accessible if it is exposed to direct contact with the hands or mouth or if there is potential for the component to become exposed under reasonably foreseeable handling by a child. Jewellery components such as beads, chains and clasps, which are sold separately, either individually or in kits, rather than as a finished jewellery item, must also meet the requirements of the Children's Jewellery Regulations.

An item is considered compliant only if all accessible components meet both lead limit requirements.

Many jewellery items are covered with a decorative or protective coating. The material under the coating is considered accessible for the purposes of the Children's Jewellery Regulations, since such coatings are easily removed if the item is sucked, chewed or swallowed, or through normal wear and tear.

The Children's Jewellery Regulations do not restrict the lead content of jewellery intended for adults or children aged 15 years or older. However, industry is encouraged to avoid the use of lead in all jewellery items.

Surface Coating Materials Regulations

Section 7.2 of the Surface Coating Materials Regulations limits the lead content of applied paints and other surface coatings on children's articles to 90 mg/kg of total lead. Children's jewellery items are considered children's articles. Therefore, any paints or other surface coatings materials on children's jewellery would be subject to the limit of 90 mg/kg of total lead under section 7.2.

Proposed guidelines for cadmium in children's jewellery

Health Canada has proposed a guideline for cadmium content in children's jewellery which would limit total cadmium to 130 mg/kg.

In October 2010, Health Canada appealed to members of industry to voluntarily stop the manufacture, importation and sale of children's jewellery made with cadmium or cadmium-containing materials.

In July 2011, Health Canada posted a draft risk assessment report for stakeholder consultation proposing a guideline limit for total cadmium concentration in children's jewellery of 130 mg/kg. Based on our risk assessment, jewellery containing cadmium below this level is not considered to pose a risk of acute toxicity following ingestion or of chronic toxicity from daily mouthing of jewellery by small children.

Background on heavy metals in children's jewellery

Lead and cadmium are potentially toxic heavy metals often found in children's jewellery. Although there are no known risks to health from simply wearing jewellery containing lead or cadmium, there are serious, potentially fatal risks, from ingesting large amounts of lead or cadmium. Young children, under four years of age, are at a greater risk of injury due to their natural habit of putting non-food items into their mouths.

Lead

Lead is often used in making children's jewellery because it is inexpensive and easily molded. It has a sweet taste that may encourage children to chew or suck on lead-containing jewellery.

If ingested, lead can affect the nervous system and is especially harmful to children. Recent studies suggest even small amounts of lead in the body can cause learning and behavioural problems in children. At high levels of exposure, lead can cause seizures, coma and death. Since lead builds up in the body, ongoing exposure to even very small amounts of lead can result in large amounts of lead being present in the body.

It has been demonstrated, with tragic consequences, that swallowed jewellery may become lodged in the stomach, leading to the release of large amounts of lead in certain cases.

Several cases of lead poisoning in children have been linked to children's jewellery containing lead. In 2006, a child from the United States died of lead poisoning after swallowing a children's charm with a high lead content.

Cadmium

The health concerns surrounding lead in children's jewellery have raised similar concerns of cadmium exposure from children's jewellery. Ingested cadmium has been associated with renal, hepatic, cardiovascular, hemotological, neurological, reproductive/developmental and immunological effects.

Since the regulation of lead limits in children's jewellery, Health Canada has found high levels of cadmium in various items of children's jewellery in the Canadian marketplace, suggesting that cadmium may be increasingly substituted for lead in certain low-cost children's jewellery. Cadmium in children's jewellery has been detected at levels up to 93%.

If ingested, there may be serious health effects. Although no reported incidents of cadmium poisoning were found following ingestion of jewellery, it is considered this may pose a threat analogous to lead.

What is "jewellery"?

For purposes of the Children's Jewellery Regulations, an item of jewellery is considered to be any decorative item intended for regular wear on the body or on clothing or clothing accessories. This includes some items which might not ordinarily be described as jewellery, such as zipper pulls and shoelace charms.

Functional items like watches and hair clips, and functional components of clothing and accessories such as buttons and belt buckles, are not considered as jewellery, unless they are designed or marketed in a way which clearly indicates that their primary purpose is decorative. However, components of clothing fasteners and hair ornaments which are purely ornamental, such as charms and beads, are subject to the lead content limits of the Children's Jewellery Regulations.

What is "children's jewellery"?

Children's jewellery is defined in section 1 of the Children's Jewellery Regulations as "jewellery that is manufactured, sized, decorated, packaged, advertised or sold in a manner that appeals primarily to children under 15 years of age."

For the purposes of the Children's Jewellery Regulations, jewellery items shall be considered as appealing primarily to children under 15 years of age if, for example:

  • The jewellery item, or of one or more of its components, is manufactured with a "play value," making it likely that the item will be perceived or used as a play item. Examples include:
    • a necklace with a flashing light

    Any toy components must meet all applicable requirements of the Toys Regulations. If the design of a product or product component clearly indicates that it could be used either as a toy or for regular wear as a jewellery item, the product or product component must meet the requirements for both jewellery and toys.

  • The jewellery is decorated with figures, logos or designs which are primarily associated with products aimed at children. Examples include:
    • characters from movies marketed for children
    • characters from public information programs marketed toward children
    • characters associated with video games marketed toward children
  • The size and/or design of the jewellery item make it unlikely that an adult would regularly wear it. Examples include:
    • ring with band too small to fit an average adult finger
  • The price and/or quality of the jewellery item are low enough to make it unlikely that an adult would be given the item or choose it for themselves.
  • The jewellery item is labelled and/or packaged in a way which would appeal primarily to children or which would suggest that the product is intended primarily for children. Examples include:
    • packaging which includes illustrations of logos or characters associated primarily with children's products
    • packaging which includes images of children,
    • labelling or packaging which includes the word "kid's," "for children" or similar
    • packaging which includes text or images intended to or likely to appeal mainly to children
  • The jewellery item is advertised in conjunction with another product intended primarily for use by a child or in caring for a child. Examples include:
    • jewellery distributed with a child's high chair or stroller
  • The jewellery item is advertised in conjunction with or as a part of television, video, radio or other programming aimed primarily at children under 15 years or in printed material targeted primarily at children under 15 years. Examples include:
    • "prizes" distributed inside cereal boxes or other packaged foods
    • advertisements aired during or immediately before or after a television show which is primarily targeted at a child audience
  • The jewellery item is advertised or sold in conjunction with, as an attachment to, or packaged together with another product intended for use by a child or for use by an adult in caring for or entertaining a child. Examples include:
    • jewellery items sold together with a child's dress
    • jewellery items attached to a book, video game or DVD aimed at children under 15 years of age

    A jewellery item worn by a doll or plush toy would normally be classified as a toy, rather than as children's jewellery, unless the jewellery item was clearly intended primarily for wear by a child. Components classified as toys must meet all applicable requirements of the Toys Regulations made under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA).

  • The jewellery item is advertised, displayed or sold on premises which market exclusively or mainly children's products, or in a section of a store or other premisesFootnote 2 where other children's items are sold, advertised or displayed.
  • The jewellery item is sold at an entertainment, educational or sporting event which is marketed towards or likely to be attended by children under 15 years of age.
  • The jewellery item is sold or distributed through premises or under circumstances which would result in the presence of large numbers of children or in which children are the primary marketed target. Examples include:
    • schools or daycare centers
    • cinemas screening children's or family rated movies
    • trade shows for products intended for use by children or for adults in caring for children
  • The jewellery item is sold in a vending machine located in an area accessible to children.

This list is not intended to be all-inclusive. Jewellery items will be classified on a case-by-case basis taking into account all relevant factors.

For assistance on classifying specific jewellery items, please contact the nearest Health Canada Consumer Product Safety Office (see list on page 14 of this document).

Examples of children's jewellery

The following are examples of children's jewellery and the rationale for their classification.

Table 1: Examples of Children's Jewellery
Item
Rationale for Classification
(Note: only the ornamental components of the hairclips, for example, bunny face and ladybug, are subject to the Children's Jewellery Regulations.)
Animal brooch
  • design appeals primarily to a child
Birthstone ring
  • very low cost
  • small size of band
  • displayed with other children's items

(This item would not be classified as children's jewellery based on the design alone.)

Bracelet with apple and heart charms
  • packaging child-appealing (decorated with fairies and angels)
  • displayed in children's section
  • low price and quality
Butterfly pendant
  • design
  • packaging
  • very low cost
  • displayed with other children's jewellery items
'Canada' pendant necklace
  • displayed with other children's items
  • very low cost and quality
Hairclips
  • design appeals primarily to children
  • packaging appeals primarily to children and includes the words 'Kids Club'
Headband with feathers and tiara
  • design appeals primarily to a child
  • product intended for play
  • low cost and quality
Metallic charms on plastic wristbands
  • design appeals primarily to a child
  • very low cost
  • small size of the wristband
Mood ring
  • novelty products
  • displayed with other children's products
  • low price and quality
Mood stone bracelet
  • novelty item
  • displayed with other children's items
Pendant on cord
  • item sold in a vending machine in an area accessible to children
  • design and colours
Set of toe rings
  • very small size; could be worn as child's finger ring
Teddy bear ring with mood stone
  • teddy bear design appeals primarily to a child
  • small size of ring band
Turtle pendant sold for use in jewellery-making classes
  • lower age limit for jewellery-making class was 12 years

Analytical methods for determining lead content in children's jewellery

Industry is responsible for making sure their products comply with the Children's Jewellery Regulations. Health Canada does not specify or recommend any particular analytical methods to test jewellery for lead content. However, any methods used to test the lead content of jewellery for the purpose of assessing compliance with the Children's Jewellery Regulations must comply with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) Principles of Good Laboratory Practice, Number 1 of the OECD Series on Principles of Good Laboratory Practice and Compliance Monitoring, ENV/MC/CHEM(98)17 (see "Information resources" on page 12 of this document).

Any digestion methods, as well as any analytical instruments, that allow the determination of total and migratable content in jewellery items are acceptable provided that control-certified materials and standards are used to monitor the quality of the results.

In conducting enforcement of the Regulations, Health Canada uses the following test methods to determine total and migratable lead, and total cadmium, in jewellery:

C02.2 Determination of Total Lead in Surface Coating Materials in Consumer Products

C02.3 Determination of Total Lead in Polyvinyl Chloride Products by Closed Vessel Microwave Digestion

CO2.4 Determination of Total Lead and Cadmium in Metallic Consumer Products

CO8 Determination of Migratable Lead in consumer products

To obtain a copy of test methods, email Health Canada at cps-spc@hc-sc.gc.ca.

Appendix A - Information resources

NOTICE: For further information visit the resources below or contact a Health Canada Consumer Product Safety Office via email (cps-spc@hc-sc.gc.ca) or telephone at 1-866-662-0666 (toll-free within Canada and the United States).

Next link will take you to another Web site Canada Consumer Product Safety Act
www.laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-1.68/index.html

Next link will take you to another Web site Children's Jewellery Regulations
www.laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2011-19/index.html

Draft Proposal for Cadmium Guidelines in Children's Jewellery
www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/legislation/consultation/_2011cadmium/draft-ebauche-eng.php

Next link will take you to another Web site Surface Coating Materials Regulations
www.laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2005-109/index.html

Next link will take you to another Web site Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Principles of Good Laboratory Practice
www.iris-pharma.com/download/Principles-on-GLP.pdf

Canada Consumer Product Safety Act Quick Reference Guide
www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/indust/ccpsa_ref-lcspc/index-eng.php

To subscribe for email updates about the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act
www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/legislation/acts-lois/ccpsa-lcspc/_subscribe-abonnement/index-eng.php

Guidance on Mandatory Incident Reporting under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act - Section 14 Duties in the Event of an Incident
www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/legislation/acts-lois/ccpsa-lcspc/indust/guide-reporting-declaration/index-eng.php

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Migratable lead is the amount of lead which is released from a product when it is brought into contact with a liquid solvent.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

For the purposes of enforcing the Children's Jewellery Regulations, 'premises' are considered to include vehicles, kiosks, street stands and any other place where or from which jewellery items are displayed, advertised, distributed or sold.

Return to footnote 2 referrer