Health Canada has proposed to amend the Hazardous Products Regulations to include consumer products containing lead that are brought into contact with the mouth.

In these regulations, “consumer product containing lead” means products that are brought into contact with the user’s mouth in the course of normal use and products which by their nature, would be brought into contact with the mouth of children under three years of age in the course of learning or play.

Examples of newly regulated products include:

  • toys for children under three years of age
  • baby bottle nipples, soothers, baby bibs
  • beverage straws, drinking spouts, other drinking aids
  • mouthpieces of musical instruments
  • sports mouthpieces
  • children’s clothing and accessories
  • strollers, cribs, carriages, other equipment and furniture
  • children’s school supplies
  • toys for children over three years of age
  • serving and eating utensils
  • cookware
  • food storage containers
  • lead crystal glassware and decanters
  • candles
  • fire logs

Canada currently places regulatory limits for migratable lead in glazed ceramics and glassware, children’s jewellery, children’s toys, and in kettles. For example:

Item 9 of Part I to the Hazardous Products Act currently prohibits the advertising, importation and sale of toys, equipment and other products for use by a child in learning or play that have had a surface coating material (including stickers/decals) … that contains any of the following heavy metals:

  • total lead in excess of 600 mg/kg
  • migratable heavy metals (antiimony, arsenic, cadmium, selenium or barium) in excess of 0.1% (1000 mg/kg)
  • any compound of mercury

Health Canada has now chosen to limit the total allowable lead content to 90 mg/kg (rather than regulate the total migratable lead).

These Regulations will give Health Canada the legal authority to prevent the import, advertisement or sale of affected products that contain hazardous levels of lead.

Additional information concerning this and other recent developments is available from our technical consulting group.