Lead Testing


lab staff testing for lead in jewellery



The European REACH directive (Restriction, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) regulates the lead content of all types of jewellery and hair accessories. Lead is commonly found in plastics, varnishes, paints, enamels and lacquers and in glass and crystals.

The lead content of each individual part must be less than 0.05% / 500 parts per million (ppm) / 500 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) by weight. Due to this low level of lead allowed by the REACH directive and other international standards such as CPSC (America) and Proposition 65 (California), testing for lead content is out by Inductively Coupled Plasma – Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES) which is sufficiently sensitive to provide accurate results.

AnchorCert Analytical offers UKAS accredited lead testing to check compliance with REACH and other international regulations.

The turnaround time for this service is within 5 working days.


Cadmium is also an element of concern and as a result has been restricted by the REACH Regulations.

As a result of this, many customers require their items to be tested for both lead and cadmium content. AnchorCert Analytical therefore offers a combined test to test the levels  of lead and cadmium simultaneously. This combined test is significantly cheaper than testing for each element separately. To download a combined lead and cadmium application form, click here.

Method 3050B – A Caution

The widely known Californian Court Judgement on the exposure of lead refers to test method USEPA 3050B or 3051 for non-metallic items. Some laboratories therefore automatically assume that these are the methods of choice recommended for lead testing, but this is not the case; as the judgement also states that 3050B is unsuitable for glass, ceramic and crystal based components which are often present in costume jewellery.

Method 3050B was developed for environmental purposes to analyse sediments, soil and sludge and this process will have limited accuracy when applied to jewellery, depending upon the composition of the jewellery item. The method is unsuitable for certain non-metallic matrices and it is particularly difficult to dissolve titanium oxides, aluminium oxides, glass and silica based components which are frequently found in costume jewellery components.


The new regulation restricting the lead content of jewellery and other items as part of the REACH directive has a specific “derogation” or exemption for “crystal glass”.

Regular exposure to even very low quantities of lead can badly damage the intellectual and behavioural development of young children.

Under the REACH directive, the lead content of each individual part must be less than 0.05% (500 parts per million) by weight. However, it is recognised that there are not any suitable alternatives for some materials with a higher lead content, amongst them vitreous enamels and crystal glass which are exempt from the regulation.

The legislation came into force 9th October 2013 and many customers have been asking for a test to verify that glass components in jewellery and watches fall within the recognised definition of “crystal glass.”

In order to be classified as one of the categories of crystal glass the material must comply with three different criteria which regulate its chemical composition, its refractive index and its relative density. Through the combined resources of AnchorCert Analytical and the AnchorCert Gemmological Laboratory, Assay Office Birmingham is in a unique position to offer this test which is now available and already proving very popular.

For more information on this UNIQUE test click here , call AnchorCert Analytical on
0871 871 6020
or contact us here.


AnchorCert Analytical carries out tests to determine compliance with EN 71-3: a recognized standard for the safety of Toys. It restricts the amount of lead released (as opposed to the lead content) AND it also identifies eighteen other toxic elements which can be even more harmful than lead. To read more about this test please click here

AnchorCert Analytical is UKAS accredited to carry out a EN71-3 testing  in our onsite fully equipped state of the art laboratory here in Birmingham.

The turnaround time for this service is within 5 working days.


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