12/21/2011 03:18 EST | Updated 02/20/2012 05:12 EST

Lead in kids' jewelry prompts recall

Some children’s jewelry is being recalled in Canada over high lead content, Health Canada announced Wednesday.

The products include two metallic necklaces and pendants sold by Ardene; one with a strawberry shaped pendant and the other with a camera shaped pendant. Approximately 1,287 units of the strawberry pendant and 1,683 units of the camera pendant were sold in Canada.

The strawberry pendants were sold from October 2010 to December 2011 and the camera pendants were sold from August 2010 to December 2011. Both were manufactured in China.

Another recall announced late Wednesday included children's jewelry under the names Impulse and Party Princess. Approximately 5,604 units of Chinese-made charms and bracelets were distributed by Deejay Jewellry Inc. at various stores across Canada between February 2005 and December 2011.

The recall has highlighted the presence of high levels of lead in children’s jewelry. "I'm announcing today to Canadians that there are a number of products that we will be recalling, particularly in children's jewelry, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq told CBC News Wednesday. She said that up to 50 per cent of the products routinely tested contain lead.

“It's very disappointing to learn that industry continues to not comply which means that we have to have more inspectors out there,” she said.

Under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act's Children's Jewelry Regulations, it is illegal to import, advertise or sell jewelry items that appeal primarily to children under 15 years of age and contain more than 600 mg/kg total lead and 90 mg/kg migratable lead, which can enter the body under certain conditions, such as chewing, sucking, or swallowing. The Act has raised the fines and penalties for non-compliance to $5 million for serious offences, up from $1 million.

In October 2010, Health Canada called for a voluntary ban on cadmium in children’s jewelry.

Aglukkaq said Health Canada will be following up with the industry to determine “why a certain level of products with very high levels of lead continue to be in the market" after the holidays.

However, James Van Loon, risk management, Consumer Product Safety Directorate, said ensuring each product's safety is impossible. “It's not up to us and check every single product. The industry should actually be complying in the first place."