Jewelry products can be manufactured from
a range of materials such as ceramics, crystals, enamels, glass, leather,
metals and metal alloys. Jewelry can also feature paints and other surface
coating materials and polymers.
In recent years, the issue of dangerous
chemicals in jewelry products has resulted in adverse media coverage, formal
investigations and market surveillance activities, as well as legislation. For
example, the European Commission’s 2015 Rapid Alert System annual report for
dangerous non-food products (Rapex) announced an increase in the number of
notifications involving chemicals in fashion jewelry. Although fashion jewelry
accounted for just 6% of the notifications in 2015, it was the second most
notified product category posing a chemical risk.
In Canada, alarming levels of cadmium in
children’s jewelry came into the spotlight in January 2016. The revelations of
a CBC Marketplace investigation included items reported to contain up to 7,000
times the threshold guidelines from Health Canada, plus one jewelry component
found to contain almost 100% cadmium.
In Brazil, legislation to regulate the use
of lead and cadmium in jewelry came into force in 2016. The law was developed
over the three years following the Brazilian National Health Surveillance
Agency (ANVISA) 2013 report about the detainment of a shipment of 16 tonnes of
cadmium-containing jewelry at the Port of Rio de Janeiro. Legislation and
standards for restricted substances in jewelry for international markets can be
complex, and manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and retailers must
understand the differences between markets and comply with them all. Jewelry is
regulated in the European Union (EU), the United States (US), Canada, Brazil
and China – although there can be very different specifications for identical
restricted substances (or identical products) destined for different markets.
In addition, the US and China impose distinct requirements for children’s
jewelry and adult jewelry.
In the EU, jewelry products must conform
to the chemical requirements as mandated by the Registration, Evaluation,
Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), Regulation (EC) 1907/2006.
This is a comprehensive piece of EU-wide legislation for the management of chemicals in all products, and its provisions governing the use of chemicals in jewelry are as follows:
chemicals falling under Annex XVII of REACH include:
- Chromium (VI)
- Nickel (migration)
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
- Substances of
very high concern (SVHCs) on the Candidate List for the purpose of:
- Article 7(2) of REACH ‘Notification of substances in articles’
- Article 33 of REACH ‘Duty to communicate information on substances in articles’
In addition to EU-wide legislation, jewelry products destined for a particular EU member state must also conform to any specific requirements mandated by the laws of that particular market.
There are two American standards for
jewelry: ASTM F2923 ‘Standard specification for consumer product safety for
children’s jewelry’ (Rhode Island is the first state to adopt this standard)
and ASTM F2999 ‘Standard consumer safety specification for adult jewelry’. Jewelry
products intended primarily for children aged 12 and under are also regulated
by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA).
Across the nation, a host of jurisdictions
regulate adult and/or children’s jewelry with unique specifications.
The laws for these jurisdictions are
summarized in Table 1.
Public Law 110-314 (CPSIA)
Public Act 10-113 ‘An Act banning cadmium in children’s jewelry’
Environment, §6-1401 through §6-1404 ‘Cadmium in children’s jewelry’
New York Albany County
Local Law 1 for 2016
New York Suffolk County
New York Westchester County
Chapter 433 ‘Prohibiting the sale of children’s products containing certain chemicals’
Title 23 Health and Safety
RCWA 70.240.010 to RCWA 70.240.040 ‘Children’s safe products act (CSPA)’
Health Canada regulates both lead content
and migratable lead in jewelry designed to appeal primarily to children under
15 years. Canada has been closely monitoring cadmium levels in children’s
jewelry since asking the industry in 2010 to stop intentionally using the
chemical, and since publishing a proposed regulation for these products in
The overall framework for product safety is the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA), with specific requirements for jewelry governed by the:
- Children's Jewelry Regulations
- Surface Coating Materials Regulations
- Draft proposal for cadmium guidelines in children’s jewelry
Jewelry destined for Brazil is governed by
Ordinance No. 43, of January 22, 2016, which restricts the use of cadmium and
lead in jewelry and came into effect on January 26, 2016.
Jewelry for China is regulated by two mandatory standards:
- GB 28480 ‘Adornment-Provision for limit of baneful elements’
- GB 11887 ‘Jewelry-Fineness precious metal alloys and designation’
Jewelry Testing Services
SGS has accredited, state of the art
testing laboratories worldwide. This network offers a comprehensive range of
physical, chemical and functional testing services for components, materials
and finished products. Our technical experts can devise not only a tailored
program to demonstrate a product’s safety and compliance to regulatory requirements,
but also help you to consider its intended destination markets and help to
reduce development costs by grouping testing.
For further information,
HingWo Tsang, Ph.D.
Global Information and Innovation Manager
SGS Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2774 7420
SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 85,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,800 offices and laboratories around the world.