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QUESTION: Regulating the amount of lead allowed in children's toys and jewelry - 14 Sep 2007 New York, USA

We are presently working here on regulating the amount of lead allowed in children's toys and jewellery. We are very interested in what type of regulations you have or are proposing concerning the amount of lead (concentrations or percentages of total weight) your country allows in these or other consumer products. Thank you very much for your cooperation in these matters.

Dean Briggs (Research Scientist)

ANSWER: 14 Sep 2007

Dear Dean,

Regarding lead in children's toys, we have recently tested by XRF two articles of jewellery made in China and given away with other mail order purchases, and found they contained 13% and 20% lead but we cannot legitimately complain about those results to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), because there is no legal limit on the lead content of any jewellery in Australia, with the exception of jewellery that is part of a toy or sold as a toy. I don't even know if hobby jewellery (like bead sets for children to create their own jewellery) is included in the definition of "toy".

No recall of leaded jewellery has ever occurred in Australia. Could it be that our government, being the government of the world's largest lead exporter, is in denial about the dangers of lead in consumer products?

The good news is that, the Consumer Affairs Minister of Australia declared a New Safety Standard Limits Lead and Heavy Metals in Toys. The new standard will take effect January 1, 2010, and will replace the current temporary Trade Practices Act ban on lead in toys that was implemented in September 2007.

Yours Sincerely

Elizabeth O'Brien

President, The LEAD Group Inc.
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