Government of Canada proposes stronger regulations to protect children from exposure to lead and cadmium

Proposals would strengthen current limits on lead in consumer products and set regulatory limits for cadmium in children's jewellery

OTTAWA, Dec. 2, 2016 /CNW/ - Young children are curious, always learning and constantly exploring new objects and environments. As they do so, they need to be protected from the possibility of exposure to toxic substances in children's products.

Exposure to lead and cadmium may pose a significant health risk to humans, especially young children who may chew, suck or swallow items made with lead or cadmium. Current science indicates that exposure to even very low levels of lead or cadmium may be harmful to children.

This is why Health Canada is moving forward to further strengthen the restrictions for these toxic metals in children's products by publishing the proposed Consumer Products Containing Lead Regulations and proposed amendments to the Children's Jewellery Regulations for public consultation, under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA).

The amendments to the Children's Jewellery Regulations propose to further reduce the current limit on lead in children's jewellery and set a strict limit for cadmium in children's jewellery items small enough to be swallowed.

The proposed Consumer Products Containing Lead Regulations will broaden the strict limits for lead in consumer products that children are likely to be in contact with to include:

  • Toys for children 3 to 14 years old;
  • Children's clothing and accessories;
  • Products whose primary purpose is to facilitate the relaxation, sleep, hygiene, carrying or transportation of a child less than four years of age.

The Government of Canada encourages Canadians to review the proposed regulatory changes and to submit feedback to Health Canada by February 15, 2017.

Health Canada continues to recommend to parents and caregivers that young children not be allowed to wear or play with adult jewellery. The Department also recommends that parents and caregivers discourage children from putting things into their mouths unless they are intended to be mouthed (like food and pacifiers).

Quick Facts

  • The amendments being proposed are part of Health Canada's Lead Risk Reduction Strategy for Consumer Products, which aims to help reduce lead exposure by introducing lead content limits for products to which children are most likely to be exposed.
  • Lead and cadmium are naturally occurring toxic metals. Health Canada set the proposed limits for lead and cadmium based on scientific evidence of risks to human health.
  • Currently there is a 90 mg/kg total lead limit for toys intended for children under three years of age. This limit is being expanded to include more consumer products, including children's jewellery.
  • There is presently no specific regulatory limit in Canada for cadmium in children's jewellery. While cadmium tastes bitter, and it is unlikely that children will suck or chew on items made with cadmium, the Department's proposed limit of 130 mg/kg total cadmium will help protect children who may accidentally swallow a children's jewellery item.
  • Risk assessments by Health Canada scientists have determined that a 90 mg/kg total lead limit and 130 mg/kg cadmium limit effectively precludes the intentional addition of lead to products during the manufacturing process and helps protect children against toxicity associated with exposure to these metals.
  • This strict lead limit is similar to the limits in place in the European Union and the United States.

Quotes
"Parents and caregivers should have confidence that the children's products they purchase in Canada are safe. The changes proposed by Health Canada today will further strengthen existing regulations on lead limits and introduce new limits for cadmium to help protect our children."

Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

Associated Links
Backgrounder - Proposed Consumer Products Containing Lead Regulations 
Backgrounder - Proposed amendments to the Children's Jewellery Regulations

 

SOURCE Health Canada

For further information: Andrew MacKendrick, Office of Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, 613-957-0200; Media Relations: Health Canada, 613-957-2983; Public Inquiries: 613-957-2991, 1-866 225-0709


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