Health Canada

Health Canada

January 15, 2010 15:32 ET

Health Canada Advises Consumers of Lead and Cadmium Hazard in Children's Jewellery

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 15, 2010) - Health Canada is advising consumers that excessively high levels of lead have been found in some children's jewellery products sold in Canada. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects. Descriptions and photos of four items identified are below.

Consumers are reminded of the potential health risks associated with inexpensive children's jewellery that may contain lead. Health Canada also has concerns that cadmium, which is a carcinogen, may be increasingly substituted for lead in inexpensive jewellery. Health Canada recommends the following safety tips to parents:

Safety Tips

- Check your child's jewellery. If you suspect it may contain lead or cadmium, throw it out in your regular household waste.

- Do not give young children adult jewellery to wear or play with; it may contain lead or cadmium.

- Do not allow children to suck or chew on any jewellery.

- If your child has sucked or chewed regularly on jewellery which you think may contain lead or cadmium, ask your doctor to test your child's blood for lead or cadmium.

- A child who swallows a jewellery item containing lead or cadmium is at high risk of developing serious health effects. Contact an emergency medical service if you believe your child has swallowed an item containing lead or cadmium.

- Check for product recalls by contacting the retailer, manufacturer or Health Canada at www.healthcanada.gc.ca/cps-recalls.

Description of Identified Products:

Item 1: T & D Pendant Necklace

This item is a silver chain necklace with a pendant. The pendant has a 'happy face' red maple leaf and a blue rectangle with the words 'Toronto, Canada' below the leaf. The necklace was attached to a white backing card bearing the words "T & D Collection".

Item 1 is available at the following address: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/Photo1_TD_Collection.jpg

Item 2: Fashion Jewellery Bracelet

This item is a black double-corded bracelet with 3 metallic charms attached to it. The charms identified for high lead levels include (but may not be limited to) the following designs:

- Airplane

- Eiffel Tower

- Suitcase

This product was an adult design and is considered a borderline children's jewellery product.

A picture of item 2 is available at the following address: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/Photo2_Bracelet.jpg

Item 3: Fashion Jewellery Pendant Necklace

This item is a bright silver chain with a large silver dollar sign pendant attached to it. The pendant was attached to a black backing card bearing the words "Fashion Jewellery".

A picture of item 3 is available at the following address: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/Photo3_Necklace.jpg

Item 4: Hot 2 Trot Bracelet

This item is a silver link bracelet with a charm in the form of a curled-up dolphin attached to it. The bracelet was attached to a small card bearing the words "Hot 2 Trot".

A picture of item 4 is available at the following address: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/Photo4_Trot_Bracelet.jpg

Details on the number of units distributed, and the retail locations and time period in which these products were sold in Canada, are not available. The importers or distributors of jewellery items 1 to 3 are no longer in business, while item 4 had no dealer identification details. Since Health Canada has not been able to ascertain this information, the Department is issuing this advisory to inform Canadians.

What to do with the affected products:

Consumers should immediately take these items away from children's reach. The jewellery may be disposed of in normal household waste.

There is no lead or cadmium exposure risk associated with using these items for their intended purpose, but anyone sucking, chewing, or swallowing these items would be exposed to high levels of lead and/or cadmium. If a child has been observed sucking or chewing on any of these items, and you suspect that lead or cadmium poisoning may have occurred, contact your family physician who can order a simple blood test to measure the child's blood lead /cadmium level. If you notice or suspect that a child has swallowed an item that may contain lead or cadmium, contact your local poison control centre immediately.

Background Information:

The high lead content of these jewellery products was detected when these items were sampled as part of Health Canada's cyclical enforcement survey for children's jewellery. Samples were also tested for potential cadmium content. Health Canada has not received any reports of illness or incidents related to the use of these jewellery items.

Lead and cadmium are toxic metals which can have harmful effects on the behaviour and development of children even at very low levels of exposure. It is illegal under the Hazardous Products Act to import, advertise or sell jewellery items intended mainly for children under 15 which contain more than 600 mg/kg total lead and 90 mg/kg migratable lead. There are no regulatory requirements with respect to cadmium levels in children's jewellery.

Additional information on lead in jewellery can be found on-line on the Consumer Product Safety web page (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/child-enfant/access/jewel-bij-eng.php).

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Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Health Canada
    613-957-2983
    or
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    1-866-225-0709