Cadmium FAQ

 

Advice or information on compliance issues does not carry any legal authority and does not replace the provisions of the legal regulations, only the regulations as interpreted by the courts have the force of law.

What is cadmium used for?
If there is cadmium in the environment will I have any adverse health effects?
What is the relevant UK Statutory Instrument and are there any guidance notes?
Can I sell items containing Cadmium that were in stock on the 10th of December 2012?
Can I sell a product if a component contains too much Cadmium?


What is cadmium used for?

Cadmium has been used in pigments, corrosion resistant plating on steel and as a stabilizer in plastics. Due to a variety of regulations, cadmium is no longer used in these applications. Three-quarters of cadmium usage today is in nickel-cadmium batteries. It is suspected that manufacturers have started to replace lead, which is highly restricted in children's products, with cadmium. Cadmium is a low cost metal, easy to work with, and has similar characteristics to lead.
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If there is cadmium in the environment will I have any adverse health effects?

The presence of cadmium in the environment does not always lead to exposure. Clearly, in order for it to cause any adverse health effects you must come into contact with it. You may be exposed by breathing, eating, or drinking the substance or by skin contact. Following exposure to any chemical, the adverse health effects you may encounter depend on several factors, including the amount to which you are exposed (dose), the way you are exposed, the duration of exposure, the form of the chemical and if you were exposed to any other chemicals.

Ingestion of cadmium can irritate the stomach, causing vomiting and diarrhoea. Large amounts can also damage the kidney, liver, and nervous system, and may cause death. Breathing high levels of cadmium can damage the lungs, which may lead to death in severe cases.

Exposure to cadmium over a long period via food, water or air can cause kidney and lung damage.
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What is the relevant UK Statutory Instrument and are there any guidance notes?

The provisions concerning cadmium are detailed in Annex XVII of the REACH Regulation - an EU Regulation which is directly applicable by every Member State - which means the UK does not have to transpose it into a UK Regulation. Consequently there are no guidance notes.
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Can I sell items containing Cadmium that were in stock on the 10th of December 2012?

YES - Paragraph 11 of Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 states that the requirement for metal beads or components in jewellery shall not apply to articles placed on the market before 10 December 2011. Therefore, the UK view by the UK REACH Competent Authority is that once an object has been imported it is placed on the market and then the derogation applies for its passage down the supply chain.
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Can I sell a product if a component contains too much Cadmium?

No - The restriction in Paragraph 10 of Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 refers to metal beads/components used in jewellery and metal parts of jewellery/imitation jewellery. That is, it applies to the parts when supplied separately and when supplied as a component of the whole item. If a part breaches the terms of the restriction, then the whole item does as well (i.e., the concentration of cadmium cannot be 'diluted' by considering the other non-cadmium containing parts).
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Last Updated 4th January 2017
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