Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lead Law for Children's Protection revisited

In my 02/06/09 post I gave some information on the new Lead Law. Not much has changed since then but things have become clearer in regard to jewelry for children. I personally have decided not to make jewelry for children. The rules are hard to follow for a small business like I have.

I found the best information at the Rings and Things website. They explain the new law thus:

The shorthand version of the new law is this: Starting on February 10, 2009, manufacturers and sellers of children's jewelry (including crafters) will need to have an accredited laboratory test their jewelry and certify that it's within allowable lead limits. The first stage of the law allows an upper limit of 600PPM (parts per million) of lead. In August, 2009, the allowable amount of lead will drop to 300PPM, and in August 2011 it will drop again to 100PPM if the US government "determines this level to be feasible."

Fortunately, one of the changes provides a list some obvious items that need not be tested because they inherently do not contain lead. This was one of the problems before. These items are exempt.

* Precious gemstones: diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald

* Semi-precious gemstones, "provided that the mineral or material is not based on lead or lead compounds and is not associated in nature with any mineral that is based on lead or lead compounds" (unacceptable stones include aragonite, bayldonite, boleite, cerussite, crocoite, linarite, mimetite, phosgenite, vanadinite & wulfenite).

* Natural or cultured pearls

* Wood

* Natural fibers such as cotton, silk, wool, hemp, flax and linen

* Other natural materials including coral, amber, feathers, fur and untreated leather.

"The Commission also 'preliminarily determines that the following metals and alloys do not exceed the 600 ppm or 300 ppm lead content limits under section 101(a) of the CPSIA provided that no lead or lead-containing metal is intentionally added':

* Surgical steel

* Precious metals: gold (at least 10 karat), sterling silver (at least 925/1000), platinum, palladium, rhodium, osmium, iridium and ruthenium"

One item that is not mentioned is Swarovski Crystals, a common jewelry component. It is the lead in the crystals that give them the desired sparkle. While it would seem that unless the crystal was pulverized and swallowed the lead would not be a problem. While that seems reasonable it has not been proven and therefore not exempt.

You can read more on the CPSC web site. It is very readable. (for a government web site ;-)

Thanks to Rings and Things for condensing the information to an understandable and concise form.


PS The picture doesn't have anything to do with the post. Just a nice bracelet and earring set. And I can't get those beads anymore. Darn.


  1. Thanks for the great information. Although I haven't made jewelry for children, I was glad to learn there were some exempt materials.

  2. Hi Bev, glad you found our presentation of lead-law info useful! And, what are those beads you can't get any more?

    at Rings & Things

  3. The site just lists them as a "Shell C" on a lampwork beads page. Send me an email and I'll give you the site that doesn't have them anymore though still listed (just out of stock)

  4. Great post and the list should be "inspirational" to artisans. Just use those materials and you should be fine!

  5. Pearl, Great idea to specialize in the OK list.

  6. I think I'll stick with making what I do - I've never done anything for kids and it looks like I won't be starting!

  7. A number of my local jewelry artist friends are not happy about this law. The problem is that even though you don't make children's jewelry, that doesn't stop an adult from giving a piece of jewelry to a child. My good friend Miss D is solving the problem by making address labels stating "Not intended for children under 12" to put on the receipts she gives her customers. The other side to this law is Miss D and a number of other jewelry artistst are goign to LLC their business--which really infuriates me because it comes down to being intimidated. I can't stand the time and tax payer's money the government wastes on laws such as this.