MJSA Welcomes ASTM Children’s Jewelry Safety Standard

by Robyn Hawk on November 3, 2011

MJSA Welcomes ASTM - Children's Jewelry Safety Standard
New standard addresses cadmium limits in both fine and fashion jewelry

ASTM International, one of the largest standards setting organizations in the world, has voted to officially approve and issue a national Children's Jewelry Safety Standard. The standard includes strict limits on cadmium content in both fine and fashion jewelry intended primarily for use by children 12 and under. The standard calls for makers and suppliers to screen metal or plastic components of jewelry for the total weight of cadmium they contain. If the weight exceeds the trace amount of 300 parts per million (ppm), the standard calls for additional testing to measure how much cadmium can migrate out of a component.
[See background below, defining differences between total weight & migration testing.]

The additional migration testing was recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which participated in the ASTM F 15.24 Subcommittee on Children's Jewelry that developed the standard. Fashion Jewelry & Accessories Trade Association (FJATA) Executive Director Brent Cleaveland chaired the subcommittee, and MJSA, the U.S. trade association for jewelry makers and designers, also participated, along with other experts from the jewelry industry, testing labs, and consumers' rights groups.

"MJSA welcomes ASTM's approval of the Children's Jewelry Safety Standard," says MJSA President and CEO David W. Cochran. "The cadmium screening test protects children's safety, first and foremost, but it also addresses many other safety issues."

The staff of CPSC, in a recent briefing package, acknowledged the standard as including an appropriate measure for reducing children's risk of harm from exposure to cadmium in jewelry designed for them. Though the standard is voluntary, ASTM standards are often later cited in federal regulations.

In a press release welcoming the approval of the standard, Cleaveland announced that FJATA will be meeting with CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum and ASTM subcommittee members in December to address educational outreach. FJATA also plans to meet with state legislators to explain the standard's requirements and to promote harmonization with existing state laws. To date, five states have signed into law cadmium limits on children's jewelry, and the limits and testing requirements conflict from state to state.

If the ASTM Children's Jewelry Safety Standard were to become embedded in federal law, however, the limits and tests for cadmium within it would likely pre-empt the state laws, eliminating what has become a confusing patchwork of regulation. Jewelry makers and suppliers already testing children's jewelry for total-weight lead content, as per the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008, could then easily incorporate the cadmium requirements into their procedures at little extra cost or time, according to labs that currently perform these tests.

The CPSC has been independently studying the issue of cadmium in children's jewelry since aJanuary 2010 Associated Press report brought the topic to its attention. The Commission announced five recalls of children's jewelry due to cadmium content during 2010, and has been considering the issue of exactly what trace amounts of cadmium are safe in children's jewelry ever since. InSeptember 2011, the CPSC commissioners voted to direct its staff to begin drafting a proposed rule restricting cadmium, especially in children's metal jewelry, unless a voluntary standard for cadmium in children's jewelry was published by ASTM within three months after September 16, 2011. Since the voluntary standard has now been published, the CPSC staff will begin to assess whether there is substantial compliance within the industry.

For more information and background on the issue of cadmium in children's jewelry, MJSA has published a Guide to Cadmium in Jewelry, available online to its members in the Public Affairs area at mjsa.org.

[differences between total weight and migration testing - defined]

Total content testing determines the total amount of metals found in jewelry, and is accomplished by destroying the object and weighing its individual elements. This is the kind of test that the CPSC requires companies use when measuring trace amounts of lead in children's jewelry, as required by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008.

Migratable content testing calls for a digestive acid simulation test that determines the amount that a metal (such as cadmium) can "migrate" or leach out of a product sample over a specified time period, when immersed in a strong solution. The solution is meant to mimic a child's stomach acids, should he or she suck on or swallow a piece of jewelry.

About MJSA 

MJSA is the U.S. trade association for jewelry makers, designers, and related suppliers. It provides the resources to achieve professional excellence and maintain a competitive edge. For more information, call MJSA at 1-800-444-6572 or visit www.mjsa.org.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

WordPress Admin