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Nov. 5 – Canada: Health Canada unable to recall childrens jewelry containing lead

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From The Toronto Star – Ottawa powerless to recall toxic trinkets: audit

Tests are turning up dangerous levels of lead in children’s jewelry, but the federal government can’t compel companies to recall the toxic trinkets, says a new report by Canada’s environmental watchdog. “Marketplace tests show that there continues to be children’s jewelry on the market that contains hazardous levels of lead,” says an audit released Tuesday. But Environment Commissioner Scott Vaughan’s report found Health Canada must ask industry to recall products containing “hazardous levels” of lead in the hope companies comply. “Health Canada lacks power that would allow it to issue mandatory recalls,” it says. “Rather, it must negotiate voluntary recalls with industry.” The audit notes there’s currently legislation before Parliament that would allow Health Canada to force companies to recall products.

The federal Hazardous Products Act bans high levels of lead in children’s jewelry. But the legislation doesn’t let Health Canada force companies to do recalls, so the department’s hands are tied even if it finds lead-laden products. The department is also just scratching the surface when it comes to finding products that may contain too much lead, the audit found. Because Health Canada only tests products it expects to be high in lead, it says “the results are not representative of the overall marketplace compliance rates” – or of all the items out there that contain lead.

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