Earlier this year Guild of Enamellers was made aware that the EU were considering a restriction of lead in Jewellery and its coatings. The proposals had undergone a lengthy public consultation, that was nearing it's close. A search of the website and questions and replies showed that the issue of lead in enamel had been overlooked. I did notice that a derogation (exemption) had been proposed for lead crystal jewellery and requested a similar derogation be made for vitreous enamel.
The EU committee then raised a number of questions, both technical and about the economic impact of the proposed restriction. In order to attempt to answer the detailed questions about the economic impact I turned to some of our Guild members and for the technical information I contacted Milton Bridge Ceramic Colours Ltd. David Bainbridge, one of the Directors, then gave the issue a huge amount of time and energy, drawing upon his wider circle of contacts within the sector and putting together a strong supporting case addressing both the technical and economic issues.
On behalf of the Guild of Enamellers I would like to thank firstly David Bainbridge, for the time, energy and dedication he gave this. I would also like to thank all those who contributed by answering our, often very detailed questions, at such short notice and for the letters of support that we were able to include in our submissions to the EU. I am happy to say that, at the point of writing, the SEAC Background Document has been published and the suggested text does include a derogation for vitreous enamel, excluding it from the proposed restriction. We now wait and hope that it goes through and that the EU Members vote for it without alteration.The vote has to take place within 3 months of publication of the document, which was 30 September 2011.
Although when I joined the Guild this was not the kind of thing I was expecting to be involved in it has been an interesting, challenging and rewarding process. For those of you who are not already Guild Members I would encourage you to join and get involved. It will bring you into contact with a diverse and enthusiastic membership with a common aim of promoting, learning about and sharing enamelling. It has individual, family and corporate memberships available, for more information visit: www.guildofenamellers.org