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CA Sets Nation’s Strictest Limits on Lead and Cadmium in Jewelry

The metals ‘are highly toxic and can cause serious health problems,’ said state Attorney General Becerra.

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SACRAMENTO, CA – California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed off on an update to the state’s metal-containing jewelry laws.

The new limits “better reflect current science and international standards on the toxicity of lead and cadmium in jewelry,” according to a press release from state Attorney General Becerra.

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“With the passage of Senate Bill 647, California has raised the bar to better protect the health and safety of our people,” he said. “Lead and cadmium are highly toxic and can cause serious health problems, even at low levels of exposure, and especially for children. California’s laws regulating toxic metals in jewelry are now the most comprehensive in the world. With this law, our state continues to lead the way with advanced standards that reflect current science and address the danger that these toxic metals pose to our communities.”

The bill was introduced by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) in February.

“We had to take a harder stance and elevate California’s cadmium and lead jewelry law because the damage these toxins have on our bodies and environment is irreversible,” Mitchell said.

The legislation does the following:

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  • Adopts the federal standard for lead in all accessible components of children’s jewelry (<100 ppm total lead).
  • Adopts the federal cadmium standard for paint and surface coating of children’s jewelry that is derived from an ASTM International standard (<75 ppm soluble cadmium).
  • Amends the definition of children’s jewelry to conform with Canada’s definition (jewelry intended for children under 15 years of age).
  • Applies the EU lead jewelry standard (<500 ppm total lead) to certain materials in adult jewelry.

The bill was co-sponsored by Becerra, the Environmental Working Group and the Center for Environmental Health.

In a press release, the Environmental Working Group noted that it ” imposes the nation’s strictest limits on the amount of lead and cadmium allowed in jewelry sold in California.”

“There is no safe level of lead exposure, and even low blood lead levels can cause children to have learning and behavioral problems,” said Susan Little, senior advocate for California government affairs at the Environmental Working Group. “This new law is designed to protect women and children from exposure to toxic metals, reducing the allowable levels of lead and cadmium in jewelry, and sets an example of leadership for the entire country.”

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