California is proposing to amend its Metal-Containing Jewelry law. The proposal includes a new definition for children’s jewelry and strengthening requirements for lead and cadmium.

SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 080/19

Fashion Bracelet

In 2006, California enacted the Lead-Containing Jewelry Law (AB 1681, 2006) to restrict lead in jewelry, a landmark piece of legislation derived from a Proposition 65 (Prop 65) consent judgment involving several major retailers for failing to provide a Prop 65 warning under this unique right-to-know law.

The Lead-Containing Jewelry Law codified the lead standards and methods from the judgment, including a specific set of materials for body piercing jewelry and the use of three categories of materials (Classes 1, 2 and 3) in the manufacture of non-body piercing jewelry products (‘Chilldren’s Jewelry’ and ‘All Other Jewelry’)

Since its enactment, the Lead-Containing Jewelry Law has been amended on several occasions. These included, among other things, the following:

  • Expanding the scope of jewelry to include certain watch-related products, and attachments to shoes or clothing that can be removed and may be used as ornaments, and tie clips
  • Requiring manufacturers to certify their products are compliant with the law
  • Restriction of cadmium content in children’s jewelry
  • Renaming the law to ‘Metal-Containing Jewelry Law’

In February 2019, California introduced the SB 647 bill to revise its Metal-Containing Jewelry law. The proposal is now set for a third reading in the Senate and contains important changes, including:

Interestingly, the three categories of materials, Classes 1, 2 and 3, have been deleted and the specifications for body piercing jewelry remains unchanged. 

It is important to note that the language may change during its passage in the legislature.

Highlights of the proposal as amended (version April 11, 2019) are summarized in Table 1.

Scope of Jewelry Requirement
Children's jewelry
(15 years and younger)

≤ 90 ppm lead (surface coatings)
≤100 ppm lead (accessible components)

≤ 75 ppm soluble cadmium (surface coatings)
≤ 300 ppm cadmium (components)

Body piercing jewelry

Materials to be used:

  • A dense low-porosity plastic, including, but not limited to, Tygon, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), if the plastic contains no intentionally added lead
  • Niobium (Nb)
  • Solid 14 karat or higher white or yellow nickel-free gold
  • Solid platinum
  • Surgical implant grade of titanium
 All other jewelry

 Materials to be used:

  • Adhesive
  • Elastic, fabric, ribbon, or string with no intentionally added lead
  • Glass, ceramics, or crystal decorative components, including cat’s eyes, cubic zirconia, including cubic zirconium (CZ), and cloisonné
  • Gemstones that are cut and polished for ornamental purposes, excluding aragonite, bayldonite, boleite, cerussite, crocoite, ekanite, linarite, mimetite, phosgenite, samarskite, vanadinite and wulfenite
  • Karat gold
  • Natural decorative materials, including amber, bone, coral, feathers, fur, horn, shell or wood in their natural state and no treated with lead
  • Natural or cultured pearls
  • Platinum group metals (platinum, palladium, iridium, ruthenium, rhodium and osmium)
  • Stainless or surgical steels
  • Sterling silver


≤ 200 ppm lead (plastics or rubber, including acrylic, polystyrene, plastic beads and stone, and polyvinyl choride (PVC)

≤ 500 ppm lead (electroplated metals, unplated metals unless otherwise listed, dyes or surface coatings, and other materials)

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