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Frequently Asked Questions about Cadmium in Children’s Jewelry

What is the limit for cadmium in children’s jewelry?

Cadmium levels in jewelry or any jewelry materials sold, offered for sale, manufactured or transported in California can not exceed 0.03% (300 ppm) by weight.

What kinds of items are considered “jewelry” under the Cadmium in children’s law (Health and Safety Code 25214.2)?

The law defines children’s jewelry as: jewelry made for, marketed for use by, or marketed to children ages 6 and younger. Go to our Examples of Cadmium in Jewelry web page to view the kind of ornaments that qualify as jewelry.

What are the health risks of cadmium for children?

Gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting have been reported following children exposure to cadmium. Various U.S. and international authorities have identified cadmium as a known, suspected, or probable human carcinogen. Chronic exposure to cadmium can lead to kidney and bone loss problems; ingestion of high doses of cadmium causes diarrhea, vomiting and even death.

Why is the law only limited to jewelry for children under 6 years old?

Ingestion is a much more significant route of cadmium exposure than dermal (skin) contact. While cadmium is toxic to older children and adults as well, children under six are especially prone to mouthing their toys and jewelry. Therefore, it is especially important to restrict cadmium in jewelry intended for younger children.

What kind of certification should I look for when purchasing new jewelry for my child?

Jewelry certification display and wording may vary from item to item, however, they all must say that the jewelry does not contain a level of lead or cadmium higher than the one established by the law. For more information, read the explanation at the top of this page.

Who can I call to determine whether a manufacturer is certified as a cadmium-free jewelry producer?

The law does not provide for cadmium-free certification of jewelry manufacturers by DTSC or any other government organization.

I am worried about my own jewelry. Are there any laws protecting adults from the harmful effects of cadmium in jewelry?

The provisions for cadmium only regulate maximum cadmium levels allowed in children’s jewelry, not jewelry marketed or offered for sale for children older than 6 years, because young children are naturally inclined to place things in their mouths. Dermal exposure that may occur when the jewelry is worn out is expected to be minimal and its significance is still uncertain.

I know of a retailer that may be selling children’s jewelry containing cadmium. Whom can I contact to report this?

Please use the California Environmental Protection Agency’s (CalEPA’s) online system to report an environmental concern.

Can I still sell children’s jewelry that was manufactured before January 01, 2012?

If you had your jewelry tested for cadmium content and it is in compliance with the law, you can sell it after the above date, even if it was manufactured before January 01, 2012.

Where can I get my jewelry tested to certify that is in compliance with the cadmium in children’s jewelry law (Health and Safety Code 25214.2)?

See the Department of Public Health EALP’s list of certified laboratories in California. Note: Not all of these labs may administer these tests. You should verify with the laboratory of your selection, before sending your jewelry samples.

I am a small business owner, not a large retailer. Am I exempt from enforcement?

No, any person or business selling or offering for sale children’s jewelry must comply with the law.

I am a retailer of children’s jewelry. Is it my responsibility to check whether the manufacturer’s products are in compliance with Health and Safety Code 25214.2?

Yes, you may be in violation of the statute. Failure to comply with the law may result in penalties up to $ 2,500, for each violation.

I produce the jewelry that I sell by hand. Am I exempt from Health and Safety Code 52514.2?

No, there are no exceptions for hand-made jewelry in the law.

The metal components of my product, which is sold as jewelry for children, are encased in plastic or another material. Does the metal portion of my product still need to comply with Health and Safety Code 25214.2?

Yes, cadmium provisions apply to any material used as part(s) or components of the jewelry.

Does the cadmium requirement apply to all jewelry?

No, cadmium levels required by the law only apply to children’s jewelry.

My jewelry meets the standards for cadmium levels, does it have to meet the standards for lead?

Yes, all the jewelry offered for sale in California, including children’s jewelry, is still required to comply with lead statutes mandated by the lead in jewelry law. In addition, it must meet federal standards for lead in children’s jewelry, as regulated under the Federal Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-314). For more information about lead requirements in children’s jewelry, please go to the Lead in Jewelry Law web page.

I entered into the consent judgment in the consolidated action entitled People v. Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corporation, et al (Alameda Superior Court Lead Case No. RG04-162075). Am I still subject to this law?

Starting January 1, 2011, any person or business selling or offering for sale children’s jewelry must comply with the new limits for cadmium. Even as a signatory to this consent judgment, you may not sell children’s jewelry with cadmium above the levels set in Health and Safety Code section 25214.2. The consolidated action entitled People v. Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corporation, et al does not have provisions addressing recent concerns about jewelry containing cadmium. Any children’s jewelry that you sell or offer for sale within California must be in compliance with the new law.