SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 066/17

SafeGuardS Fashion necklace

A Prop 65 settlement agreement has been reached for cadmium in necklaces. The agreed reformulation is more stringent than those in the first nationwide legally binding agreement for cadmium in jewelry.

California Proposition 65 (Prop 65 [1]) is the ‘Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 [2]’, a ballot initiative passed overwhelmingly by Californian residents in November 1986. It requires the state to publish a list of chemicals [3] that are known to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm. The list was first published in 1987 and is updated at least once a year.

In October 1987, cadmium was listed on the Prop 65 list of chemicals as a chemical known to cause cancer. Once cadmium was listed, there were two important requirements for companies doing business in California:

  • They had until October 1988 to provide a ‘clear and reasonable warning’ before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to cadmium. The new and revised language for a ‘clear and reasonable warning’ will become effective on August 30, 2018 [4]
  • They had until April 1989 to prohibit the discharge of cadmium into sources of drinking water

Businesses with less than 10 employees and government agencies are exempt from these two provisions. Businesses are also exempt from these provisions if the exposures create no significant risk of cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Since the listing of cadmium, there have been a number of settlement agreements involving a wide range of consumer products. These include ceramics, exterior designs on food contact and non-food contact products, glassware, jewelry and Halloween products. 

In March 2017, a settlement agreement for cadmium in necklaces was reached. Under the terms of this settlement agreement, the parties agreed to reformulate cadmium content to no more than 100 ppm. It is interesting to note that this reformulation (for necklaces) is more stringent than the 300 ppm limit in the first legally binding agreement for cadmium in jewelry that SGS reported [5] in March 2011.

A Prop 65 settlement is a consent agreement between the parties named in the settlement and a party not named in a settlement is not bound by that settlement.

Highlights of the new settlement agreement for cadmium in necklaces are summarized in Table 1.

Substance Scope Reformulation
Cadmium Necklaces  100 ppm

Throughout a global network of laboratories, SGS can offer comprehensive testing, product assessments and consultancy services related to California Proposition 65 to assist your risk management in your supply chain for consumer goods such as DIYs, electrical and electronics, hardgoods products, juvenile products, and textile & toy products. For further information, please visit our website.

For enquiries, please contact:

Hingwo Tsang
Global Hardlines Information and Innovation Manager
t: +852 2774 7420

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