Canada: Stricter Limits for Lead and Cadmium in Children’s Products

The Canadian health ministry, Health Canada, has published two new regulations: Children’s Jewellery
Regulations: SOR/2018-82
) and the Consumer Products Containing Lead Regulations: SOR/2018-83. Both take effect six months after publication in the Canada Gazette.

The Children’s Jewellery Regulation states that the following products may contain a maximum of 90 mg/kg of lead.

  • Toys intended for children between 3 and 14 years of age
  • Children’s clothing and accessories
  • Products primarily intended to facilitate the relaxation, sleep, hygiene, and transportation of a child less than four years of age

The same regulation also defines a total permissible amount of cadmium of 130 mg/kg in children’s jewelry that is small enough to be swallowed and a total permissible amount of lead of 90 mg/kg (previously set at 600 mg/kg and 90 mg/kg for migratable lead).

Two non-governmental agencies active in health matters find the definitions wanting. They are calling for limits that apply to jewelry in general, not just children’s jewelry. After all, they point out, children also have access to adult jewelry.

In Germany, the definitions set by REACH apply: Up to 0.01% by weight for cadmium and up to 0.05% by weight for lead. Cases involving costume jewelry that exceed those limits are not rare. For example, as part of a study, the Regional Council of Tübingen found that 10% of jewelry items in floor trading had an
increased level of lead and or cadmium. Some 17% of jewelry items sold on the Internet, had levels that
exceeded the legal limits.

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