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Consumer Product Safety Testing for Heavy Metal Content

August 9, 2016
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Introduction
Lead is a toxic heavy metal that attacks the central nervous
system causing blood and brain disorders, and has specifically
been linked to learning disabilities in young children. Young
children are especially at risk for lead poisoning, as they are
more inclined to put things in their mouths. In 2004, the
threat of lead poisoning from toy jewelry caused the Consumer
Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to conduct a voluntary recall
of over 150 million pieces of metal toy jewelry sold in vending
machines. Other products containing lead have also been
recalled including chalk, crayons, and children’s products
painted with lead-based paint. These recalls brought about the
passage of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act
(CPSIA) of 2008.
Section 102 of the CPSIA requires manufacturers to certify,
via CPSC accredited third-party laboratories, that children’s
products comply with specific lead exposure limits. The original limit was set to 600 ppm lead by total weight and has
since been lowered to 100 ppm for products and 90 ppm for lead in paint and coated surfaces for products intended
for children ages 12 and under. CPSC staff developed Test Method CPSC-CH-E1001-08.2 and Test Method CPSC-CHE1002-
08.2 for measuring lead in metal and non-metal products using microwave digestion for sample preparation.
Following microwave digestion, analysis can be performed using AA, GFAA, ICP or ICP-MS.
Using a MARS™ 6 system a wide variety of both metallic and non-metallic samples were digested. Standard reference
materials were also incorporated in order to qualify results. All samples were analyzed on a Varian 720 ES ICP-OES
spectrometer.

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