Study Finds More Than Half of Jewelry Tested Contains High Levels of Hazardous Chemicals
Scott Wolfson, director of communications for the CPSC, told CBS that a majority of the items tested were for adults and were not intended for children, but explained that there is still cause for concern as children up to 9 may still put items in their mouth.
Even if the items are not specifically targeted toward children, The Ecology Center said a reasonable argument could be made that certain pieces could be classified as children's products, due to the low price point and demographics of somes stores (Claire's, Icing, Hot Topic). The CPSC has said that regulations for jewelry are "superseded by the statutory requirements of CPSIA" if the item could reasonably be considered a children's product.
Of the 39 items rated as "high" for overall levels of harmful chemicals, every one that The Ecology Center could track down was manufactured in China (researchers could not ascertain the country of origin for 7 of those 39 products). In total, 90 of the 99 pieces of jewerly tested came from factories in China.
The HealthyStuff.org study highlights a major flaw in the U.S. safety regulations. Many items that children could come in contact with, such as costume jewelry, are made overseas by companies that do not necessarily adhere to U.S. requirements. Businesses importing anything that could be considered a children's product, including promotional products companies as well as retailers, should be prepared to test and verify the safety of any items they sell. Members of the promotional product community need to be especially cautious, as an item that was not intended as a children's product when manufactured may be considered one if it receives an age-appropriate imprint.