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California has introduced a bill to revise its Metal-Containing Jewelry law. Published in February 2019, SB 647 will make a number of important changes if accepted. These include:

  • Adopting federal standards for lead content in children’s jewelry
  • New definition of age limit for children’s jewelry to be similar (but not identical) to the Canadian Children’s Jewelry Regulations (SOR/2018-82)
  • Establishing soluble cadmium for surface coatings on children’s jewelry
  • Strengthening the lead content limit for certain materials to align with those under entry 63 to Annex XVII of Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) in the European Union

Requirements include:

  • Children’s jewelry (15 years and younger):
    1. ≤ 90 ppm lead (surface coatings)
    2. ≤ 100 ppm lead (accessible components)
    3. ≤ 75 ppm soluble cadmium (surface coatings)
    4. ≤ 300 ppm cadmium (components)
  • Body piercing jewelry – materials to be used:
    1. A dense low-porosity plastic, including, but not limited to, Tygon, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), if the plastic contains no intentionally added lead
    2. Niobium (Nb)
    3. Solid 14 karat or higher white or yellow nickel-free gold
    4. Solid platinum
    5. Surgical implant grade of titanium
  • All other jewelry – materials to be used:
    1. Adhesive
    2. Elastic, fabric, ribbon, or string with no intentionally added lead
    3. Glass, ceramics, or crystal decorative components, including cat’s eyes, cubic zirconia, including cubic zirconium (CZ), and cloisonné
    4. Gemstones that are cut and polished for ornamental purposes, excluding aragonite, bayldonite, boleite, cerussite, crocoite, ekanite, linarite, mimetite, phosgenite, samarskite, vanadinite and wulfenite
    5. Karat gold
    6. Natural decorative materials, including amber, bone, coral, feathers, fur, horn, shell or wood in their natural state and no treated with lead
    7. Natural or cultured pearls
    8. Platinum group metals (platinum, palladium, iridium, ruthenium, rhodium and osmium)
    9. Stainless or surgical steels
    10. Sterling silver
  • or
    1. ≤ 200 ppm lead (plastics or rubber, including acrylic, polystyrene, plastic beads and stones, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC))
    2. ≤ 500 ppm lead (electroplated metals, unplated metals unless otherwise listed, dyes or surface coatings, and other materials)

Originally enacted as the Lead-Containing Jewelry Law in 2006, it derives from a Proposition 65 (Prop 65) consent judgment involving several major retailers. The original law included, inter alia, a specific set of materials for body piercing jewelry and it created three categories of material – Classes 1, 2 and 3. These have been deleted in the law that has recently been introduced.

Since its original introduction the Lead-Containing Jewelry Law has undergone a number of changes, not least the change of name to reflect its much broader scope.

The bill is now in its third reading. Stakeholders should be aware the wording may change as it progresses.

SGS Jewelry Services

SGS provides news about the development of regulations affecting consumer products as a complimentary service. With a global network of laboratories, SGS provides a wide range of services including physical/mechanical testing, analytical testing and consultancy work for technical and non-technical parameters applicable to a comprehensive range of consumer products. Learn more about SGS’s Jewelry Services.

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