Press Releases

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.

European Union

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:

  • Restricted chemicals falling under Annex XVII of REACH include:
    • Cadmium
    • Chromium (VI)
    • Lead
    • 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.

United States

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.

Table 1.




Public Law 110-314 (CPSIA)


  • Health and Safety Code § 25214.1-25214.4.2 (Metal-containing jewelry law)
  • Proposition 65


Public Act 10-113 ‘An Act banning cadmium in children’s jewelry’


  • Public Act 96-1379 ‘Cadmium-safe kids act’
  • Public Act 87-175 ‘Lead poisoning prevention act’


Environment, §6-1401 through §6-1404 ‘Cadmium in children’s jewelry’


  • § 3256.389 ‘Items containing lead prohibited’
  • § 325E.3891 ‘Cadmium in children’s jewelry’

New York Albany County

Local Law 1 for 2016

New York Suffolk County

  • Chapter 704: Retail Sales; Article VI ‘Children’s products containing cadmium’, § 704-40 to § 704-47
  • Chapter 704: Retail Sales; Article X ‘Toxic children’s products’, § 704-72 to § 704-80

New York Westchester County

Chapter 433 ‘Prohibiting the sale of children’s products containing certain chemicals’

Rhode Island

Title 23 Health and Safety
Chapter 23-24.11 ‘Comprehensive children’s jewelry safety act’


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 2011.

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, please contact:

HingWo Tsang, Ph.D.
Global Information and Innovation Manager
SGS Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2774 7420


About SGS

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.