Ottawa moves to ban cadmium in children's jewelry

OTTAWA - The Harper Government is taking action to protect children from dangerous products by proposing a new guideline regarding the amount of cadmium that may be found in children's jewellery. 
 
Cadmium is a heavy metal which is known to be highly toxic when ingested. Health Canada is proposing a guideline regarding total cadmium concentration in children's jewellery of 130 parts per million (0.013%).  It is believed this concentration would help protect children from cadmium poisoning following accidental ingestion, or prolonged licking and sucking, of these products.  Stakeholders affected by this proposed guideline have until October 10, 2011 to provide comments on the proposal.   
 
"Parents want the products they buy for their children to be safe", said Pamela Fuselli, Executive Director at Safe Kids Canada.  "Young children explore their world through touch and taste, so guidelines like this ensure products children use often will be safer."
 
Health Canada has encouraged those involved in the import, manufacture or sale of children's jewellery to take all reasonable steps to ensure that their products are safe for Canadian children.  Health Canada will continue to monitor the marketplace and will take appropriate action when levels of cadmium in excess of the guideline are found in children's jewellery. Health Canada may also seek the introduction of regulations limiting cadmium in children's jewellery via the federal regulatory process.
 
Last October, as a first step, the Government appealed to members of industry to voluntarily stop the production, importation and sale of children's jewellery made with cadmium or cadmium-containing materials.  While there is no known risk to health from simply wearing jewellery made with high levels of cadmium, a Health Canada risk assessment found that there are serious health risks associated with swallowing, sucking or chewing jewellery that contains high levels of cadmium.