CA Legislative Changes for 2012
The provisions of California SB 929 have become effective with the arrival of 2012. This bill, approved by Governor Schwartzenegger on September 25, 2010, limits cadmium content in jewelry for children 6 and under to 300ppm by weight with an effective date of 1/1/2012. California is one of 5 states to limit cadmium in children’s jewelry after testing had revealed high cadmium content jewelry items following the passage of CPSIA in 2008, particularly in inexpensive merchandise; and leading legislators to the conclusion that cadmium was generally being used as a substitute for lead. Minnesota and Illinois already have 75ppm soluble cadmium limits in place for jewelry for children 6 and under (MN) and under 12 (IL). Maryland and Connecticut will apply 75ppm total cadmium limits in 7/1/2012 and 7/1/2014 respectively.
The CA cadmium limits come into force behind the recent passage of CA SB 646, approved by the Governor on October 4, 2011. This legislation makes two significant changes in CA Metal-Containing Jewelry Law (plus adding “tie clip” to the jewelry product class), and is also currently in effect. First, it removes the protection offered to signatories under the Burlington Coat Factory Consent Agreement, a provision FJATA emphatically opposed because affected companies have worked diligently to bring product into compliance with a rapidly-changing regulatory arena.
Second, CA SB 646 changes the language regarding “compliance certificates”, which are documents on company letterhead attesting that the product meets CA legal limits for lead and cadmium. Previously, these certificates were only required to be produced on request. Now compliance certificates must be provided for every product either to the seller of the product or on the shipping container. The document must be based on test results obtained from specific test methods (EPA reference methods 3050B, 3051A, and 3052), for adult product. For children’s products, CPSIA testing establishes compliance for lead. Children’s product must pass the tighter restrictions of CPSIA as well as cadmium specifications of CA DTSC has provided a sample certificate on their website.
There are significant penalties for “knowingly and intentionally” (emphasis mine) entering into circulation any non-compliant jewelry, from $5k to $100k in penalties and/or up to one year in jail. Lesser penalties (up to $2500 per day per violation) are in place when the violation is not known or intentional. Particularly, “(w)hether the violator took good faith measures to comply with (cadmium/lead limits) and the time these measures were taken” are considerations in determining any civil penalty.
FJATA supports the ASTM International F2923-11 Standard Specification for Consumer Safety for Children’s Jewelry, which applies a 300ppm total weight of cadmium limit as a screening level for children’s jewelry, adopting the CPSIA age class of 12 and under. Any product which passes this test would be considered safe in CA and according to the Standard. The additional migration limit is based on CPSC (and other) research showing that cadmium migration from metal is low as a percentage of total content. If this migration test yields less than 200mcg, then it is safe according to CPSC guidance concerning cadmium toxicity.