After much discussion and consultation the European Commission has completed draft amendments to Annex XVII of Regulation1907/2006 (REACH) regarding lead and its compounds.
The regulations are expected to be adopted in August 2012 unless there is opposition from the European Parliament It was inevitable that lead would be included in the scope of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals(REACH) Regulation, due to its toxicity. Regular ingestion of even small quantities can result in severe and irreversible neuro-behavioural and neuro-developmental effects. Children Â are particularly susceptible while their central nervous system is still developing and their tendency to âmouthâ or suck things makes them particularly vulnerable.
Section 63, Annex XVII of REACH will restrict the concentration of lead to 0,05% by weight. This will apply to any individual part of jewellery and imitation jewellery articles and hair accessories, including bracelets, necklaces and rings; piercing jewellery, wristwatches and wrist-wear; brooches and cufflinks.
As a result of extensive consultation with various EU and industry bodies, some items are exempt. These include crystal glass, internal components of watch timepieces inaccessible to consumers; non synthetic or reconstructed precious and semiprecious stones and vitreous enamels.Â Articles produced before 10 December 1961 are also exempt as are items placed on the market for 12months after the Regulation becomes enforceable, giving traders time to sell through old products and test new items for compliance.
The Laboratory offers a UKAS accredited test to determine lead content by weight. The full wording of the draft regulation can be found at www.thelaboratory.co.uk/lead
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