The Fashion Jewelry & Accessories Trade Association
25 Sea Grass Way, Wickford, RI 02852
P: (401) 667-0520 F: (401) 267-9096
FJATA Comments at a Joint Public Hearing of the New York State Assembly Standing Committees on Environmental Conservation, Health, and Consumer Affairs and Protection: 12/5/2011
On behalf of the members of the Fashion Jewelry and Accessories Trade Association (“FJATA”), we appreciate this opportunity to comment regarding the regulation of toxic chemicals in children’s products. FJATA is the voice of the jewelry and accessories industries in the United States, representing over 225 manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers, from small independent businesses to large multi-national corporations. Most of our members and their customers distribute children’s jewelry in New York and thus are vitally interested in assuring that any enacted legislation reflects the best available technical data and avoids duplicative regulation that will be costly to consumers and businesses alike without advancing safety objectives.
The primary focus of this hearing was on A. 3141 (Sweeney). The bill in question would require manufacturers to report on “intentionally-added” chemicals in children’s products and conduct alternatives assessment aimed at substituting non-toxic chemicals for those priority chemicals contained in their products. Two years after the effective date of the act, companies are required to completely eliminate the use of all priority chemicals in children’s products they sell in New York.
The most significant issue here is the lack of a de minimis level, or a threshold below which chemicals are not considered intentionally-added, which is a key part of most other states’ toxic chemicals legislation (proposed or enacted). De minimis levels substantially reduce reporting burdens since virtually everything contains trace amounts of one or more priority chemicals, including playground sand. Reporting thresholds are not loopholes, they avoid extra costs associated with reporting on priority chemicals that do not pose a health hazard. Secondly, A. 3141 appears to require the complete elimination of priority chemicals in children’s products after two years following its adoption. Without a de minimis threshold, this will present a problem for manufacturers as trace contaminants exist in raw materials and variability in lab results is well-documented. Further, in many instances “safe” levels have already been established. This is certainly the case with listed substances in children’s jewelry.
There are several other bills in the NY Assembly that would regulate toxic chemicals in children’s products:
- A. 1158 (Sweeney) would regulate cadmium in “novelty consumer products”, including children’s jewelry to 75ppm by weight.
- A. 3678 (Gabryszak) would regulate cadmium in children’s products to 40ppm total content until 2015, when the limit becomes zero.
- A. 5548 (Englebright) would establish a 0.5ppm soluble limit for cadmium in children’s jewelry.
- A. 5711 (Englebright) would restrict certain heavy metals in coatings on children’s products.
These proposed rules have widely varying limits and do not benefit from the rigorous scientific evaluation that forms the backbone of another bill before the assembly, A.6758-A (Englebright) , whose companion bill, S. 4055-A (Alesi), passed unanimously (62-0) in the Senate. These bills, which FJATA supports, would limit cadmium in children’s jewelry to levels that match the recently published ASTM International Children’s Jewelry Safety Standard, ASTM F2923-11. This ASTM International solubility standard for migratable cadmium benefits from a thorough analysis of testing data from multiple sources, including, most importantly, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The standard also is based on recommended exposure limits for cadmium, based on published toxicology studies, incorporated into the CPSC Report on Cadmium in Children’s Metal Jewelry released in October, 2010. Using CPSC’s determination that 200µg represents a safe acute exposure level for a small child, ASTM F2923-11 represents the combined work of industry, consumer groups, peer-reviewed scientists, independent testing labs, CPSC staff, and Health Canada. By supporting A. 6758-A, you will be supporting a bill regulating cadmium in children’s jewelry to standards that reflect the best available science. In addition, ASTM F2923-11 does more than address cadmium or other heavy metals; it also comprehensively addresses all identified potential hazards associated with children’s jewelry, like magnets.
A. 6758-A will furthermore promote harmonization on the state, federal, and international levels. Recently, FJATA met with Health Canada to discuss a Canadian proposed rule for cadmium in children’s jewelry. At the meeting, Graham Howell, Policy Advisor to the Office of the Minister of Health, agreed that harmonizing regulations across our respective borders is most worthwhile. Very soon, we will meet with CPSC to discuss educational outreach for the ASTM F2923-11 Children’s Jewelry Safety Standard. The CPSC staff has already indicated in a briefing package to the full Commission several months ago that ASTM F2923-11 does address the potential risk of cadmium exposure from children’s jewelry. It is our expectation that ASTM F2923-11 will be recognized as the national standard for jewelry in the U.S., much as the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is for lead and phthalates in children’s products, and ASTM F-963 is for toys.
To avoid conflicting legislation, promote best available scientific safety standards, and in the interest of regulatory harmony, FJATA urges the New York Assembly to adopt A. 6758-A as the standard for children’s jewelry, and to exclude from reporting under A. 3141 or any similar legislation any product, like jewelry, that is covered by other requirements that address safety.
If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact me.
FJATA’s New York lobbyist, Tom Faist, released a summary of the hearing proceedings. More