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Artificial jewellery for children have harmful levels of lead: study

A slender bangle with dangling silver balls,a piece of jewellery with dolphins on it,a tiny turquoise ring: all pretty,and tainted with lead.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
July 7, 2010 1:23:52 am

A slender bangle with dangling silver balls,a piece of jewellery with dolphins on it,a tiny turquoise ring: all pretty,and tainted with lead.

Pink may be pretty,and rings may be cool,but a new study by NGO Toxics Link has found high levels of lead present in artificial jewellery targeted at children,in the absence of any prescribed standards for lead content in manufactured products. Lead is considered to be extremely harmful for all humans,especially children.

The study was conducted through lab tests on 54 pieces of jewellery taken from Lajpat Nagar,Old Delhi,Janpath,Sadar Bazaar markets as well as markets in South and Central Delhi.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that “no amount of lead is safe”,listing lead among the hazardous toxins. Lead exposure is not safe in any amount,being known to cause reduction in IQ,hinder brain development and even mental retardation. In children,lead may be ingested if the piece of jewellery is put in the mouth,causing lead poisoning.

Newsline had earlier reported how a first of its kind study on lead in the country by the National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning in India (NRCLPI),had found high levels of lead in blood,water and soil samples .

Coloured jewellery has the highest amount of lead,the Toxics Link study has found. Among types of samples tested,rings were found to have the highest lead content (856346.9 4 parts per million) to make the metal malleable. Sixty-five per cent (35 of 54) jewellery samples had lead levels higher than 90 parts per million (ppm),43 per cent (23) samples had more than 300 ppm,and 31.5 per cent (17) jewellery samples had over 1,000 ppm.

“We have standards for lead in emissions and fuel but we dont have specific standards for lead in products like jewellery,” Central Pollution Control Board chairperson S P Gautam told Newsline.

“It is unacceptable that we have no standards for lead. This is a real health hazard,” said Ravi Agarwal from Toxics Link. The NGO works on investigating toxins in the environment,and is connected internationally with the Basel Convention,Health Care Without Harm,International Persistent Organic Pollutants Elimination Network.

Pretty harmful
Pink jewellery was found to have the highest amount of lead In March 2005,about 2.8 million lead-containing metal charms were recalled in the United States and Canada after a child who had put the charm in her mouth was found to have harmful levels of lead in her blood.

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