Having tested a lot of consumer products in the last two years, I’ve got a pretty good sense of what will pass and what will fail the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act’s (CPSIA) lead content limits. So when I stumbled across the pictured Disney Princess jeans with belt at Macy’s last week, I was surprised. Because the sparkling rhinestones in the belt buckle just screamed at me potential CPSIA fail. So I had to buy them and test.
Now, before I tell you the results, let me catch up any readers unfamiliar with the CPSIA. The CPSIA sets lead content limits for all children’s products. The current limit is 300 parts per million (ppm). With very limited exceptions, this lead content limit applies to all children’s products within the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) jurisdiction, regardless of whether or not there is a risk of exposure. That particular point is a subject of much debate, which we will leave for another post. For more information on the CPSIA, you might want to start with my post about what is covered by the law.
Now, most crystals used to give cosnumer products “bling” contain lead – lead is added to glass to make crystal. So, for example, most Swarovski crystals test at around 230,000 ppm total lead. And therefore, such crystals, as well as lead containing rhinestones and glass beads, are banned from children’s clothing. A request from the Fashion Jewelry Trade Association for an exclusion from the lead content limits for crystal and glass bead products was denied by the CPSC. Basically, even thought the CPSC staff and commissioners found the risk of exposure was very low, the CPSIA doesn’t allow for such concerns. Walter Olsen over at Overlawyered discusses this problem as it relates to bling with great insight.
I’ve tested and spoken with many manufacturers/companies, many of whom destroyed inventory and abandoned bling items because of the CPSIA. The vast majority of these were small companies, and they suffered tremendously by the loss of inventory. So it makes me a little, okay a lot, angry when larger companies seem to ignore or even flaunt the CPSIA.
So back to these Disney Princess pants. The tag inside just says “Disney Princess” and the RN number indicates the manufacturer is Wear Me Apparel, LLC (RN 46795). The style number is 18427034 with a UPC of 795050388023. The pants are size 5 girl, so clearly they are a children’s product, subject to the CPSIA lead content limit.
The results? Using the Niton XRF analyzer, I tested the belt buckle at 130,000 ppm lead. Now, it is hard to test a belt buckle in place, without disassembling the belt from the buckle. So the results may not be completely accurate. And, as always, I would recommend further wet testing for a more accurate result.
I would say that this has the potential to be a CPSIA violation.
Moreover, the belt itself seems to have cadmium in it, albeit at a low level. The belt is three layers – a pink vinyl layer, a foam layer, and then a white layer, apparently vinyl. When I test all three layers together, I get a reading of cadmium at 130 ppm and a lead reading of 14 ppm. Now, to test these layers properly, the belt should be disassambled, and the layers screened with the XRF with sufficient thickness. However, since I plan to return these pants, I did not do that.
In any event, I’ve reported my findings to the CPSC because I think all companies should comply with the CPSIA.