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Canada to crack down on cadmium in kids' jewelry

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian government said on Monday it plans to restrict the use of cadmium in children's jewelry, all but banning the toxic metal.

Guidelines proposed by the Health Department would limit the total concentration of cadmium in to 0.013 percent, a level the government says would protect children who suck on or accidentally swallow the jewelry items.

Last October, tests revealed high concentrations of the metal in some children's jewelry sold in Canadian stores. Ottawa appealed to members of the industry to voluntarily stop production and sale of those items.

New consumer product safety laws that came into force last month now give Health Canada the power to order mandatory recalls, rather than just request companies to recall such items.

"Consumer products that pose a danger to human health or safety may not be manufactured, distributed, imported or sold in Canada," Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said in a press release.

"This proposed guideline makes our expectations of industry clear."

The government has regulations on the amount of lead that can be used in products, but there were no limits on cadmium, which is often used as a substitute for lead in cheap jewelry.

The industry has until October 10 to provide comments on the Health Canada proposal.

(Reporting by Trish Nixon; editing by Rob Wilson)

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