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Issue Date: Vol. 45, No. 2, February 2005, Posted On: 2/8/2005

CPSC Sets New Guidelines For Lead Content In Toy Jewelry

Hank Schlesinger

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced new guidelines, testing and enforcement policies aimed at reducing the potential for health risks from lead in children's toy fashion accessories. The updated information comes in the wake of a massive industry recall voluntarily conducted several months ago by bulk vending suppliers after lead content in some toy fashion accessories raised CPSC concerns.

According to the agency, its new policies outline steps that manufacturers, importers and retailers should take to minimize risks for children; describe how its staff will test for lead in children's toy fashion accessories; and quantify lead levels that will trigger further attention by the CPSC.

In short, documents provided by the CPSC indicate that its staff will first conduct a screening test to determine the lead content of each component in a product. If the lead content of each component is less than or equal to 600 parts per million (ppm), the staff will not pursue a recall or other corrective action. However, if the lead content of any single component exceeds 600 ppm, then CPSC staff will conduct further testing using the acid extraction method. If the acid extraction test yields an amount of accessible lead less than or equal to 175 micrograms (ug), no corrective action will be sought. However, if the secondary test reveals lead content greater than 175 ug, the CPSC will decide what corrective action may be appropriate on a case-by-case basis. Factors in such decisions will take into account the age of the children who are most likely to wear the product, the level of accessible lead, the size and shape of the components, the probable routes of exposure and other factors.

"We do not want children's jewelry to have accessible lead that could cause elevated blood lead levels," said CPSC chairman Hal Stratton. "We urge manufacturers to reduce the lead content of their products to the greatest extent possible below the 600 ppm benchmark."


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