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High levels of lead and cadmium detected in some fashion bracelets 2017-12-27

 

High levels of lead and cadmium detected in

some fashion bracelets

- 9 out of 20 fashion bracelets contain lead and

cadmium exceeding permitted levels -

 

     Although trendy fashion bracelets* are in vogue among young people .in that

the low-cost bracelets help them express their unique style and personality,  high levels of lead and cadmium have been detected in some products, requiring consumers’ attention.

 

* Bracelets made of base metals·leather·synthetic resins, not noble metals such as gold and silver.

 

     The fact that some fashion bracelets contained high levels of lead and cadmium was revealed by the Korea Consumer Agency(KCA)’s investigation on safety and labeling of harmful substances for 20 fashion bracelets distributed and sold in domestic markets.

High levels of lead and cadmium detected in 9(45.0%) out of 20 fashion bracelets

      The results of the tests to determine whether products contain any harmful substances including heavy metals showed that 9(45.0%) out of 20 tested products exceeded the levels of lead and cadmium permitted in metal jewelry specified in theDesignation of Toxic, Restricted & Prohibited Chemical Substances(Notification No. 2017-163 of the Ministry of Environment)].

7 products contained lead exceeding up to 720 times (minimum 0.34% ~ maximum 43.22%) the allowable level (less than 0.06%), and 6 products contained cadmium exceeding up to 703 times (minimum 0.23% ~ maximum 70.35%) the permitted level (less than 0.10%).

[ Status of Lead and Cadmium Detection ]

 

Classification

Permitted Level(%)

Detection Range(%)

Number of Lead/Cadmium-detected Products

Note

Lead

Metal

Less than 0.06

1.05 ~ 43.22

7

4 products contained both lead and cadmium.

3 products contained lead only.

2 products contained cadmium only.

Cubic

0.34 ~ 10.43

Cadmium

Metal

Less than 0.10

0.90 ~ 70.35

6

Cubic

0.23

 

Lead(Pb): Can cause serious health problems such as anorexia, anemia and muscle weakening, and is classified in a Class 2B carcinogen.

Cadmium(Cd): Can cause health problems such as lung disease, kidney disease, and osteoporosis, and is classified in a Class 1 carcinogen.

Standards restricting the amounts of lead and cadmium allowed in metal jewelry need to be strengthened.

     Under the notification of the Designation of Toxic, Restricted & Prohibited Chemical Substances」 in compliance with the  「Act on the Registration and Evaluation, etc. of Chemical Substances, lead and cadmium used for specific purposes are classified in very harmful substances, and as for metal jewelry, the permitted levels of lead and cadmium are restricted to less than 0.06% and 0.10%, respectively.

     However, in the EU, the levels of lead and cadmium allowed in metal jewelry are restricted to less than or equal to 0.05% and 0.01%, respectively, and in California, US, the levels are restricted to less than or equal to 0.02% for lead and 0.03% for cadmium, respectively. Therefore, in order to be balanced with these international standards, it is necessary for Korea to strengthen the standards to restrict levels of lead and cadmium allowed in metal jewelry.

[ Comparison between the levels of lead and cadmium permitted

in metal jewelry in Korea and foreign countries ]

Harmful Heavy Metal

KOREA

(Designation of Toxic, Restricted & Prohibited Chemical Substances)

EU

(Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals)

USA

(California Proposition 65)

Lead

Less than 0.06%

Less than or equal to 0.05%

Less than or equal to 0.02%

Cadmium

Less than 0.10%

Less than or equal to 0.01%

Less than or equal to 0.03%

 

Most of the tested products have not been complying with labeling requirements.

     Under the Electrical Appliances and Consumer Products Safety Control Act, metal jewelry including bracelets is classified as products subject to supplier’s assurance of conformity, and required to put the labels of age for use, date of manufacture, name of manufacturer, country of manufacture, etc. on the packages or tags of the jewelry products. However, it turns out that only 5(25.0%) out of 20 products have complied with the labeling requirements, so it is necessary to more strictly administer the labeling requirements.

Improvement and corrective actions for fashion bracelets containing unsafe levels of lead and cadmium

     The Korea Consumer Agency (KCA) has recommended the companies in question to recall the products which contain lead and cadmium exceeding the allowable levels, and correct problems related to the products concerned. And the companies in question have decided to instantly recall the products concerned, and improve their improper labels.

     In addition, the KCA plans to request the Ministry of Environment to strengthen and more strictly manage the standards restricting the levels of lead and cadmium allowed in ‘metal jewelry’, and also the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards to strengthen implementation of labeling requirements for ‘metal jewelry(fashion bracelets)’.

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