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Washington State Gets Serious On Lead, Cadmium, and Phthalates In Kids’ Products

We’re excited to announce a victory for kids’ health and consumers’ peace of mind!

Last month, in response to a letter we sent them, the Washington State Department of Ecology announced it will finally begin enforcing state standards for lead, cadmium, and phthalates for certain kids’ products, including clothing, jewelry, car seats, and cosmetics. Today, the agency took action to get kids’ jewelry high in lead and cadmium off store shelves.

Ecology announced it has notified several kids’ jewelry manufacturers that their jewelry violates state cadmium and lead standards. That means the companies could be subject to enforcement action, including fines.

While it’s never good news that kids’ products contain harmful toxic chemicals, it’s good news that Ecology is taking action to protect kids’ from harm. Ecology has information on and pictures of the 5 pieces of jewelry violating state standards on their website. One piece was 98% cadmium!

Washington’s Children’s Safe Products Act (CSPA) established some of the toughest standards for lead, cadmium, and phthalates in kids’ products. Product manufacturers had argued that weaker federal standards should apply. As a result, over a hundred products, including clothing and personal care products, that may be in violation of state standards but not federal standards, remained on store shelves without enforcement.

Back in October we urged Ecology to start enforcing Washington’s stronger standards. Ecology agreed with us and says the stronger standards apply.

It’s a good thing too. Manufacturers’ own reporting revealed that many products appear to be in violation of state cadmium and phthalate limits.

Of course kids’ products still legally contain toxic chemicals that aren’t good for kids’ health. From formaldehyde in dish ware to phthalates in clothing and everything in between, it’s time companies got serious about making safer products. Ecology getting serious about enforcing current law should help.