BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                               AB 1681

                        Senator S. Joseph Simitian, Chairman
                              2005-2006 Regular Session
           BILL NO:    AB 1681
           AUTHOR:     Pavley
           AMENDED:    June 12, 2006
           FISCAL:     Yes               HEARING DATE:     June 26, 2006
           URGENCY:    No                CONSULTANT:       Bruce Jennings

            SUMMARY  :    
            Existing law  :

           1) Establishes a "Universal Waste Rule" under which high  
              volume, relatively low-risk hazardous waste (such as many  
              consumer products containing mercury and lead) can be  
              handled, recycled, and disposed of according to simplified,  
              "universal" rules.  Universal wastes produced by households  
              and small businesses can continue to be disposed of in  
              landfills until February 2007.  Otherwise, universal wastes  
              must be sent to authorized recycling facilities or to a  
              universal waste consolidator.

           2) Lists lead on California's Proposition 65 (the Safe  
              Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986) list  
              which includes all toxins that are known to the state to  
              cause cancer and reproductive damage.

           3) Prohibits, pursuant to the Federal Sherman Food, Drug, and  
              Cosmetic Law, the sale of adulterated food, including food  
              adulterated with lead.

           4) Prohibits the installation of leaded pipes.

           5) Prohibits the sale and distribution of toys containing lead  

           6) Prohibits the sale and distribution of tableware containing  
              lead above certain levels.


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           7) Requires the Department of Health Services (DHS) to  
              establish a childhood lead poisoning prevention program to  
              identify and conduct medical follow-up of high-risk  
              children and to establish procedures for environmental  

           8) Requires DHS to assess a fee against persons who  
              contributed to sources of lead contamination to fund the  
              activities of the state' childhood lead poisoning  
              prevention program.

            This bill  :

           1) Requires that on and after March 1, 2008, no person shall  
              manufacture, ship, sell, or offer for sale jewelry for  
              retail sale in California unless it is made entirely from  
              Class 1, Class 2, and/or Class 3 materials, as defined:

              a)    Class 1:  Contains no lead.

              b)    Class 2:  Metal Alloys with less than 10 percent lead  
                 that are electroplated with suitable under and finish  
                 coats before August 31, 2009 and 6 percent on and after  
                 August 31, 2009.

              c)    Unplated metal with less than 1.5 percent lead that  
                 is not listed as a Class 1 material.

              d)    Plastic or rubber, including acrylic, polystyrene,  
                 plastic beads and stones, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)  
                 components can contain no more than 600 parts per  
                 million (ppm) on and before August 30, 2009 and 200 ppm  
                 on and after August 31, 2009.

              e)    Dyes or surface coatings containing less than 600  
                 parts per million lead.

              f)    Class 3:  Not a Class 1 or Class 2 material; and  
                 contains less than 600 ppm lead.

           2) Requires that on and after September 1, 2007, a person  
              shall not manufacture, ship, sell or offer for sale  
              children's jewelry for retail sale in California unless the  


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              jewelry is made entirely from one or more of the following  

              a)    Nonmetallic materials that are Class 1 materials;

              b)    Nonmetallic materials that are Class 2 materials.

              c)    Metal components in and coatings on children's  
                 jewelry must contain less than 600 ppm of lead.

              d)    Glass or crystal decorative components that weigh in  
                 total no more than 1.0 gram, excluding any glass or  
                 crystal decorative component that contains less than 200  
                 ppm lead by weight and has no intentionally added lead.

              e)    Printing inks or ceramic glazes that contain less  
                 than 600 ppm lead.

              f)    Class 3 materials that contain less than 200 ppm.

            COMMENTS  :

            1) Purpose of Bill  .  The purpose of this bill is to reduce  
              child and adult exposure to lead.  This bill codifies the  
              "global" settlement reached in a Proposition 65 case  
              between the Center for Environmental Health, the Attorney  
              General, and a group of retailer and wholesaler defendants,  
              which sets a lead content standard for all types of jewelry  
              imported into, and sold and distributed in California.   
              Without the enactment of a strict lead-content standard,  
              jewelry containing hazardous levels of lead will continue  
              to be marketed to the public and to children.

            2) Background  .  In June, 2004, the California Attorney General  
              filed a lawsuit against numerous California-based retailers  
              alleging they violated Proposition 65 by failing to warn  
              consumers about the health risks of exposure to the lead  
              contained in certain jewelry.  The state's testing found  
              high levels of lead in both the metallic and nonmetallic  
              components of the jewelry targeted in the case.  The  
              amounts were well above the level that triggers the  
              requirement to provide a Proposition 65 warning to  
              consumers.  In December, 2004 the retailers agreed to  


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              mediate.  The settlement was reached in January, 2006.

            3) Lead: Recognized Hazards  .  Lead has been listed under  
              Proposition 65 since 1987 as a substance that can cause  
              reproductive damage and birth defects, and has been on the  
              list of chemicals known to cause cancer since 1992.  Lead  
              is a neurotoxin and is particularly hazardous to children.   
              Lead in young children even at very minute levels can  
              result in reduced IQ, learning disabilities, attention  
              deficit disorders, behavioral problems, stunted growth,  
              impaired hearing, and kidney damage.

           The Centers for Disease Control states there is no evidence of  
              a threshold below which adverse effects are not  

           Despite wide and longstanding recognition of lead's toxicity,  
              the jewelry industry continues to knowingly manufacture,  
              import, and distribute jewelry products, especially  
              inexpensive jewelry marketed to children, which can contain  
              as much as 100 percent lead.

            4) Leaded Jewelry: Current Hazards  .  A recent study by the  
              University of North Carolina examined 311 jewelry items  
              that were purchased from California retailers.  Of these  
              items, 123 were found to contain more than 50 percent lead  
              by weight; 36 of these 123 samples contained more than 75  
              percent lead.

            5) Inadequate Federal Law  .  In the absence of strict  
              lead-content standards, regulatory agencies have had to use  
              the tools available to them - labeling requirements and  
              product recalls - to control the use of lead by the jewelry  
              industry.  As a result, the Consumer Product Safety  
              Commission (CPSC) has overseen six recalls involving over  
              150 million pieces of lead-containing jewelry over the last  
              three years.  The CPSC has recently developed lead-content  
              guidelines for jewelry.  These guidelines, however, are not  
              requirements, or standards that can be strictly enforced by  
              the Commission.

           Current state and federal laws regarding lead in products such  
              as jewelry impose a lead standard that is exposure, not  


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              content based.  (The CPSC recently established guidelines  
              for lead in jewelry, but these guidelines do not have the  
              force of regulation or law.)  Therefore, jewelry  
              manufacturers can make a piece of jewelry that consists  
              almost entirely of lead, but is covered with a coating.

            6) Should there be lead in children's jewelry at any level?    
              The premise of this proposed law is that risk assessment  
              should serve as a basis for making environmental health  
              decisions - a premise that is being increasingly challenged  
              as not a sound basis for the protection of public, and  
              especially children's, health.   For many health advocates,  
              the concept that some level of risk is acceptable or  
              manageable is being questioned as posing unnecessary risks  
              for consumers and their children, workers, and the  
              environment generally.  In the case of lead in jewelry,  
              members of the health community argue that the goal should  
              be to have no lead present in the final product.  In  
              general, when there are better/safer alternatives, there  
              should be a zero risk policy for using the more hazardous  
              chemicals.  In this case, lead, for which we know that  
              extremely low doses can cause harm to children and the  
              developing fetus, there is no level of risk that is or  
              should be acceptable in consumer products where there is  
              the potential for any level of exposure in children. 
           While the Attorney General has done a notable task in  
              hastening the removal of lead from jewelry, members of the  
              Committee should carefully consider whether to address a  
              timeframe beyond the terms of the settlement by phasing-out  
              lead in children's jewelry.  One option may be to follow  
              upon the terms of the settlement by requiring a ban on  
              children's jewelry by a date certain, e.g., January 2010.    
              In this manner, the settlement could be placed in what may  
              be a more compelling policy - the phase-out of a known  
              health hazard that is especially threatening to children.  

            SOURCE  :        The Center for Environmental Health    

           SUPPORT  :       A New Way of Life Reentry Project
                          California Communities Against Toxics
                          Environment California
                          Healthy Children Organizing Project


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                          The Girl Scouts
                          The Sierra Club
                          Women's Mountain Passages
                          Youth for Change
           OPPOSITION  :    None on file