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Lead and Cadmium Hazard in Children's Jewellery Warning

Author: Health Canada

Published: 2010-02-07 : (Rev. 2017-11-06)

Synopsis and Key Points:

High Lead levels found in childrens jewellery products sold in Canada.

Main Digest

Health Canada is advising consumers that excessively high levels of lead have been found in some children's jewellery products sold in Canada.

Consumers are reminded of the potential health risks associated with inexpensive children's jewellery that may contain lead. Health Canada also has concerns that cadmium, which is a carcinogen, may be increasingly substituted for lead in inexpensive jewellery. Health Canada recommends the following safety tips to parents:

Safety Tips

Description of Identified Products:

Details on the number of units distributed, and the retail locations and time period in which these products were sold in Canada, are not available.

The importers or distributors of jewellery items 1 to 3 are no longer in business, while item 4 had no dealer identification details.

Since Health Canada has not been able to ascertain this information, the Department is issuing this advisory to inform Canadians.

What to do with the affected products

Consumers should immediately take these items away from children's reach. The jewellery may be disposed of in normal household waste.

There is no lead or cadmium exposure risk associated with using these items for their intended purpose, but anyone sucking, chewing, or swallowing these items would be exposed to high levels of lead and/or cadmium.

If a child has been observed sucking or chewing on any of these items, and you suspect that lead or cadmium poisoning may have occurred, contact your family physician who can order a simple blood test to measure the child's blood lead /cadmium level.

If you notice or suspect that a child has swallowed an item that may contain lead or cadmium, contact your local poison control center immediately.

Background Information:

The high lead content of these jewellery products was detected when these items were sampled as part of Health Canada's cyclical enforcement survey for children's jewellery.

Samples were also tested for potential cadmium content. Health Canada has not received any reports of illness or incidents related to the use of these jewellery items.

Lead and cadmium are toxic metals which can have harmful effects on the behavior and development of children even at very low levels of exposure.

It is illegal under the Hazardous Products Act to import, advertise or sell jewellery items intended mainly for children under 15 which contain more than 600 mg/kg total lead and 90 mg/kg migratable lead.

There are no regulatory requirements with respect to cadmium levels in children's jewellery.

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