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Recent California Legislation Regulating Lead Content in Jewelry

California’s landmark legislation regulating lead content in jewelry has not been widely covered in either the jewelry trade, or in consumer publications. The State of California has established a web page, “Lead in Jewelry”, that provides a great deal of information about the law that came into effect in September 2007. The web page contains background data on the legislation, resource materials concerning the health issues related to lead and deadlines for compliance with the law.

A quick review of the FAQ and the Fact Sheet from this source will serve as a good introduction to how the new law affects your business and provides information to protect you as a consumer.

While the law regulates lead content in a variety of materials, the aspects relating to cast pewter jewelry components can be summarized as follows:

  • As of September 1, 2007, the lead content allowed in “children’s jewelry” is limited to no greater than .06% (600 ppm).
  • As of March 1, 2008, any electroplated metal jewelry component may not exceed a lead level of 10% (100,000 ppm).
  • As of March 1, 2008, any unplated metal jewelry component may not exceed a lead level of 1.5% (15,000 ppm).
  • As of September 1, 2009, any electroplated metal jewelry component may not exceed a lead level of 6% (60,000 ppm).