I wasn’t planning on writing an article warning parents of lead this holiday season but as you’ll read below, researching something on my own Christmas shopping list encouraged this article to be published. Many parents think of toys being recalled with lead in the paint from years ago..that doesn’t seem to happen very often anymore. Could it be we are supporting a new age of purchasing locally made wooden toys so this concern isn’t as high? I hope so! Besides for avoiding imported painted toys from overseas there are a few other ways to avoid lead exposure this Christmas for children.
Children’s jewelry is still an area of concern for lead. I would honestly love to hire The Smart Mama and have her walk through a big box store, dollar store – any store that sells cheap jewelry with her XRF machine and wait for the results. But since that isn’t going to happen, what is the easiest way to not have to worry about lead or cadmium in children’s jewelry? Do not purchase cheap jewelry for children. I was recently reminded of this when I started searching for personalized necklace jewelry stores for Christmas gifts. We all know how much I love hand stamped jewelry and this year is no exception. When I went to order the necklaces, there was a Swarovski Crystal attached with each necklace. These crystals are always available for mom or child necklaces so you can showcase different colors for birth months, etc. Did you know that Swarovski Crystals are man made and contain lead? Because of California Proposition 65, stores that carry jewelry containing swarovski crystals, certain base metal findings, and other leaded glass items – warnings must be posted if sold online because potentially a Californian could purchase the jewelry. When is the last time you remember seeing a warning on any jewelry sold at the dollar store, Claires, etc.? You see the State of California regulates synthetic chemicals sold in products that cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm. When a product may contain one of these chemicals, there is a strong warning placed on the item being sold. Cool hey? If you are not familiar with California Proposition 65, read more here. I found California’s Metal-Containing Jewelry Law an interesting read too. Made me think of a few more items that I should look into: the gemstones (polished stones) my girls love to play with and to go through their dress-up jewelry again. Boys are not totally exempt from this since they have metal badges and medallions. It also helps me to remove my guilt when I quietly throw out any of the cheap jewelry they might receive at parties or as gifts because unless you have a way to test cheap jewelry for children – how would you know? And I have one daughter than loves to put things in her mouth while she’s daydreaming.
So after doing more research on the swarovski crystals, I worked with the artist making the necklaces for me and she was able to recommend all materials that were lead free. I opted for stainless steel charms to be personalized and a charm with glass accent- not crystal. When you work with someone making you a jewelry piece, you really can take the detective work out of it because they are very knowledgeable about the materials in all the different stone settings, etc. I would not be able to ask these questions buying inexpensive kids jewelry at the mall, shelf, or site that doesn’t have detailed information on it’s products.
Of course other ways to avoid lead and cadmium all together is purchase felted or knit jewelry. Sound a little too crunchy for you? It’s not at all and with selling felted rings at Green Planet Parties – I can tell you my girls love them. You just need to remove them to wash hands, but they expand to fit all finger sizes and no homework here – no metal used… ditto for the ponytail holders as seen below. Sometimes it’s just nice to not have to research and investigate everything! Although I found it very rewarding to work with the artist making my girls necklaces because after chatting back and forth, she’s now sourcing all glass bead alternatives for future child’s necklace designs.
Lead in your Christmas tree? That’s up next tomorrow.