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Lead in children’s jewelry: the impact of regulation



In 2016 we identified a regulatory gap in Israel reflecting a lack of restrictions on lead in children’s jewelry. We conducted surveys that found high levels of lead in children’s jewelry. Following the findings, a new standard restricting lead content was introduced in 2018.


The goal of this study is to assess whether the new standard had an impact on lead concentrations in children’s jewelry on the market 4 months after entry into force, and to examine factors that influenced the standard’s effectiveness.


Thirty-five items of children’s jewelry were sampled from stores in Israel in 2018. Lead content of 130 subsamples of these items was tested with X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry (XRF). We compared these findings to those before the introduction of the standard. We also conducted five structured interviews with professionals from government ministries, industry and expert bodies to examine factors influencing the standard’s enactment and implementation.


17% of jewelry samples exceeded the ASTM lead standard in 2018 compared with 50% in 2016. The mean of the jewelry subsamples analyzed in 2018 was 936 (±1700) compared to 1420 (±5740) ppm in 2016. Scientific and regulatory consensus among those setting the new standard led to its swift enactment. However, enforcement challenges may reduce the standard’s impact.


A new standard on lead in children’s jewelry was followed by a decline in lead concentrations, but some products with lead exceedances remained available on the market. Public health campaigns, standards and compliance monitoring, and higher penalties will all help to reach the goal of protecting public health.

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Fig. 1: Jewelry samples with lead levels exceeding ASTM standard (100 ppm).


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This study was funded by the Environment and Health Fund, Israel, research grants PGA 1503 and PGA 1801. We are grateful to the interviewees for their important contributions.

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Correspondence to Maya Negev.

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Negev, M., Berman, T., Goulden, S. et al. Lead in children’s jewelry: the impact of regulation. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 32, 10–16 (2022).

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  • Children
  • Lead
  • Jewelry
  • Regulation
  • Standards

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