For an industry that has historically used lead in its products, according to WWD, the issue is how to bring standardization to regulation of lead levels, which is done state by state, and avoid controversy in light of the Mattel/China crises. The current system is difficult for nation-wide retailers, and factories are not 100% lead-free.
The JFTA is proposing one national regulation for lead levels in jewelry, and a spokeswoman for Limited Stores stressed that monitoring lead is more a collaboration between the brand and its vendors.
Stephan Ruben, JFTA member and president of Stephan & Co., a fashion jewelry brand, talks to WWD and stresses the severity of the issue.
"Ninety-eight percent of the entire industry is sitting back and letting a very small group carry all this burden of accumulating evidence, putting out fires, paying lobbyists and scientists," said Gale. "The government serves a purpose and we'd like them to step up and come up with standards."
"This thing affecting fashion jewelry will go into the handbag and belt industries, too," said Ruben. "It will affect anyone using metal, PVC, plastics, paint and pigments containing lead. It's a bigger problem than anyone's willing to look at."