BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1681
                                                                  Page 1

          Date of Hearing:   April 26, 2005

           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY AND TOXIC MATERIALS
                                  Ira Ruskin, Chair
                    AB 1681 (Pavley) - As Amended:  April 19, 2005
           
          SUBJECT  :   Lead-containing jewelry

           SUMMARY  :   AB 1681sets a lead content standard for jewelry  
          imported into sold or distributed in California.  Specifically,  
           this bill  :  

          Prohibits the advertising, sale, import, or distribution of  
          jewelry containing more than 200 parts per million (ppm) total  
          lead.  The reduction in lead content is to be phased in over 4  
          years.

           EXISTING LAW
           
          1)Establishes the "Universal Waste Rule" for the handling,  
            recycling and disposal of high volume, relatively low-risk  
            hazardous waste, such as lead containing consumer goods.

          2)Lists lead as one of the toxins known to cause reproductive  
            harm pursuant to Proposition 65.

          3)Prohibits the sale or use of various products containing lead  
            above specified levels such as food adulterated with lead  
            (Federal Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law); leaded pipes,  
            toys containing lead paint, tableware containing lead above  
            certain levels.

          4)Requires the Department of Health Services (DHS) to establish  
            a childhood lead poisoning prevention program and to assess a  
            fee against contributors to lead contamination to fund the  
            program.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown.  Contains a crimes and infractions  
          disclaimer. 
          
           COMMENTS  :   

           "The Song Remains the Same."

          1)The dangers of lead are well documented.  As early as 1892  








                                                                  AB 1681
                                                                  Page 2

            lead poisoning in children was first described as distinct  
            entity in Queensland, Australia.  Although the incidence of  
            lead poisoning in children has been greatly reduced from the  
            early 1980's, when the CDC found that as many as 82% of  
            America's children were suffering to some degree from lead  
            poisoning, today's level of slightly under 10% is still too  
            high.  

          2)According to the author, lead is a neurotoxin that is  
            particularly hazardous to children.  Even very low levels in  
            young children can result in reduced IQ, learning  
            disabilities, attention deficit disorder, behavioral problems,  
            stunted growth, impaired hearing and kidney damage.  In adults  
            lead causes high blood pressure, fertility problems, nerve  
            disorders, muscle and joint pain, irritability, memory and  
            concentration problems.  Pregnant women pass on lead contained  
            in their bodies to their fetus.

          3)Lead enters the body through the inhalation of lead containing  
            dust, fumes or mist or through ingestion, such as chewing on a  
            toy painted with lead based paint or drinking out of a glass  
            that contains lead.  Lead is then absorbed into the  
            bloodstream and distributed throughout the body where it is  
            stored in soft tissue and bone.  Most lead is accumulated in  
            the bones and remains there for years.  According to the  
            author, studies have demonstrated that children's bodies  
            absorb as much as 50% of the lead they ingest.

           Getting the Lead Out

           1)According to the Centers for disease control, "there is no  
            evidence of a threshold below which, adverse effects are not  
            experienced".  In other words, there is no safe level of lead  
            in a person's body.  Despite this generally accepted and  
            longstanding recognition of lead's toxicity, the industry  
            continues to sell and distribute inexpensive lead containing  
            jewelry which is marketed to and for children.

          2)The author contends that some of this jewelry contains as much  
            as 100% lead.  A recent University of North Carolina Study  
            examined 311 jewelry items purchased from California retailers  
            and found that 123 of them contained more than 50% lead.  The  
            current lead standards in state and federal law are exposure  
            rather than content based.  This means that jewelry  
            manufactures can make jewelry out of lead and then coat it in  








                                                                  AB 1681
                                                                  Page 3

            order to comply with the standard.  The problem with this  
            "risk management" for jewelry is that people, particularly  
            children, place jewelry in their mouths and the high acid  
            content of saliva can remove the coating.  Also, there have  
            been instances of children swallowing lead jewelry and  
            suffering severe lead poisoning as a result of their stomachs  
            dissolving the coating.

          3)The author feels that without the enactment of a strict  
            lead-content standard, children will continue to ingest lead  
            and will suffer damage to their brains, hearing and kidneys.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :

           Support
           
          A New Way of Life Reentry Project
          California Communities Against Toxics
          Center for Environmental Health
          Environment California
          Healthy Children Organizing Project
          Natural Resources Defense Council
          Sierra Club California
          Sweatshop
          Women's Mountain Passages
          Youth for Change

           Opposition
           
          None on file.
           

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Heather A. Halsey / E.S. & T.M. / (916)  
          319-3965