Last day to object to jewellery lead test proposal

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Mandatory testing would affect precious jewellery as well as costume.

There is a proposed change to testing of lead in jewellery that could cause major disruption to the British jewellery trade.

France is proposing more stringent testing for lead in jewellery and as part of the European Union (EU) the UK would have to comply if the changes are passed.

The changes would require that all jewellery is tested before it reaches the retail market, even precious jewellery that has been hallmarked and so already proved that it does not have a dangerous level of lead.

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This unnecessary testing process could slow the transition of jewellery to market, adding an unnecessary hoop for jewellery businesses to jump through. The testing means would also mean extra added costs for jewellery manufacturers and suppliers.

The French proposals have not been widely publicised in the UK but the plans have been in motion since May. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which is leading the report into the proposals by France, had originally asked for comments to be submitted by September 21 but will accept objections until the end of today, December 21.

British Jewellers Association chief executive Simon Rainer said that he is against the inclusion of precious jewellery subject to UK hallmarking in the new standards. He added: “From the BJA perspective, we wish to see gold, 925 silver, palladium and platinum removed from these new French proposals as by their composition they do not contain lead.”

The proposal has been raised mainly to tackle the lead content of costume jewellery, which can be harmful to children if they put the jewellery in their mouths. Lead and its compounds are used in jewellery to make fashion jewellery heavier or give it a more metallic finish.

If passed, the proposals would prohibit jewellery with a lead migration of more than 0.09 micrograms per square centimetre per hour from being produced or sold in the EU.

To read the report and put your thoughts on the proposal to the ECHA click here.

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