Federal Agency Takes Step toward Banning Lead in Children’s Jewelry

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on Thursday unanimously approved an advance notice of proposed rulemaking that could lead to a ban of children’s metal jewelry that has more than 0.06 percent of total lead. An ANPR is the first step in CPSC’s three step rulemaking process.

“Lead is toxic to children and reducing lead poisoning in children is a priority for CPSC,” said acting chairman Nancy Nord, one of the two current CPSC members, with one seat vacant.

Lead can accumulate in the body. Lead poisoning in children is associated with behavioral and growth problems and learning disabilities, CPSC said in a statement.

Since 2004, CPSC has conducted more than a dozen recalls of children’s metal jewelry due to the lead poisoning risk. These recalls involved more than 165 million units.

Products intended for children are banned under federal law (Federal Hazardous Substances Act) if they contain hazardous levels of accessible lead. To help manufacturers, distributors, importers, and retailers keep children’s metal jewelry with hazardous levels of lead off store shelves, CPSC created an interim enforcement policy in February 2005, which involves a two-step testing process. That process uses total lead content as a screening tool but focuses on accessible lead levels. Current rulemaking could result in a simplified approach, eliminating the test for accessible lead.

CPSC will continue enforcing the interim metal jewelry testing policy while current rulemaking is pending.

The notice will be published in the Federal Register in the next few weeks. Following publication, the public will have 60 days to provide comments to the Commission. Comments can be submitted to CPSC’s Office of the Secretary at tstevenson@cpsc.