Fashion jewellery from Asia may contain cadmium and lead. This is why controls are regularly carried out by our inspectors. In 2017, more than 500 kilograms of non-compliant jewellery was withdrawn from the market. But the import channels for these jewels are multiple and in constantly change. It is therefore likely that such jewellery are available on the Belgian market.

Skin reactions caused by nickel allergies are easily recognised. But the same cannot be said for lead and cadmium, the health effects of which cannot be observed in a similar way.

Risks that are not insignificant...

Lead and cadmium are heavy metals considered to be carcinogens. Cadmium and lead are extremely toxic by ingestion or inhalation of dust and vapours. When the skin is injured or irritated (e.g. in case of eczema or dermatitis), these substances can get into the body. As a result of bioaccumulation, cadmium and lead levels increase in our bodies with age. In the long term, they can cause kidney and lung disorders or affect IQ. It is very important to avoid cadmium and lead throughout your life.

... especially for young children and pregnant women

Pregnant women and very young children are extremely sensitive to lead poisoning. When lead is ingested, it is released into the body. This release is much higher among pregnant women and young children than among adults. For more information: is external) in French. in Dutch.

How to recognize jewellery manufactured with cadmium or lead?

Jewellery containing large quantities of cadmium often has a fairly massive appearance. Their details are coarse, less refined than those made of silver for example.

Like cadmium jewellery, lead jewellery is quite coarse and heavy.

Guidance for protecting yourself after a purchase  

Everyone buys costume jewellery. Simple precautions reduce the risks for health.

Do you like wearing costume jewellery? Why not, but you must avoid:

  • putting it in your mouth;
  • wearing the same item of jewellery all the time;
  • these items of jewellery from coming into contact with irritated or injured skin.

Do you often buy online? Beware …

  • On the Internet, the origin or the composition of jewellery are rarely indicated.
  • Be even more cautious with jewellery sold at very low prices.

Do you buy in stores? 

  • Be sure to seek information about the composition and origin of the jewellery.
  • Be even more cautious when jewellery sold at very low prices is imported from countries outside the European Union. The legislation there is rarely as strict as in Europe.

At home, watch out for young children and teenagers

  • Keep your jewellery out of the reach of children.
  • Do not leave your jewellery on a low cupboard or bedside table. Young children put shiny objects in their mouths very quickly and may swallow very small parts (beads, pendants, etc.).
  • Use a jewellery box with a key.
  • Avoid offering costume jewellery with metal parts to children
  • Teenagers tend to wear the same jewellery all the time. Inform them of the risks and provide them with this health guidance.

Do you want to dispose of an item of costume jewellery? Do not throw it in the waste bin!

  • Contact your municipality or the organisation that manages waste in your region and verify the collection method planned for this type of waste.