Coalition Commends NY State Assembly for Passing the Child Safe Products Act; Calls on Senate to Follow Suit

ALBANY, NY— Community groups throughout the state are praising the New York State Assembly for easily passing the Child Safe Products Act (CSPA), a bill that phases out dangerous chemicals in products marketed to kids in New York, by a wide bipartisan margin of 112 yeas and 29 nays.

CSPA, first introduced by Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) and Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) last month, now must pass the Senate and be signed by the Governor to become law. The bill would require the state to publish a list of toxic chemicals, require disclosure of their use in children’s products, and ultimately ban their use over time.

“Children are more sensitive to and are at an increased risk from chemical exposure. Currently, New York prohibits the use of dangerous chemicals on a chemical-by-chemical basis.  The Presidents’ Cancer Panel reported that nearly 80,000 chemicals are used in the country today, many of which are unstudied and largely unregulated. We must act to protect children’s health from unnecessary toxic chemicals found in products designed for kids.  It’s time to put health concerns first,” said Assemblyman Steve Englebright.

Senator Phil Boyle, sponsor of the matching legislation, said “I applaud the Assembly’s passage today of the Child Safe Product Act with broad bipartisan support.  As more legislators across the political spectrum see the importance of protecting our children against toxic chemicals, I urge even more of my Senate colleagues to support this important legislation.”

The JustGreen Partnership, which includes pediatricians, teachers, nurses, environmental and sustainability groups, learning disability, breast and childhood cancer advocates, healthy schools advocates, sustainable businesses, environmental justice leaders, and other allied organizations, is also optimistic about the bill as it reaches the State Senate.

“Tough, tenacious, together. Working with coalitions like the JustGreen Partnership and the New York State Breast Cancer Network, we will witness the Child Safe Products Act pass into law,” said Karen Joy Miller, from Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, Inc.

“We applaud the NYS Assembly and bill sponsor Steve Englebright for taking action to help business leaders across the state meet consumer demand for safer products,” said Laura Ornstein, Coordinator of the New York State Sustainable Business Council. “As more than half the Senate supports the matching bill sponsored by Sen. Phil Boyle, we call on the Senate Leadership to bring the Child Safe Products Act to the floor for a vote.”

“Moms applaud the bipartisan support for the Child Safe Products Act,” states Trisha Sheehan, Regional Field Manager for Moms Clean Air Force.  “Protecting our children from toxic chemicals is not a partisan issue. We all care about children’s health and keeping toxic chemicals out of their products should be on everyone’s agenda.”

“New Yorkers are counting on the State Legislature to protect our children from toxic chemicals in the toys they play with and the products they use,” said John Replogle, President & CEO of Seventh Generation. “We commend Assembly Member Steven Englebright and his colleagues for passing the Child Safe Products Act. We are hopeful that the State Senate will follow the Assembly’s example, and will swiftly pass the CSPA, keeping children across the state as safe as possible for generations to come.”

“Assembly passage of the Child Safe Products Act was a nice Earth Day gift to all parents across New York State,” said Kathy Curtis, executive director of Clean and Healthy New York and co-leader of the JustGreen Partnership. “But more must be done. It’s still legal and common practice to add toxic chemicals to infant’s and children’s products. To make the dream of safe products for all children a reality, the Senate must pass this initiative and deliver it to the Governor,” Curtis added.

“We commend the action of the New York State Assembly, who have already done what is necessary to protect the health and safety of our children now and for future generations,” said Francesca Sommer, Executive Director of the Learning Disabilities Association of New York State. “We urge the Senate to take similar action!”

“This is a game-changing advance for children,” said Claire Barnett, founder and executive director of the Healthy Schools Network, Inc. “We are grateful to the Assembly and look forward to Senate action.”

“The NYS Assembly continues to demonstrate their commitment to protecting New York’s children and the environment by passing A.5612, the Child Safe Products Act,” said Caitlin Pixley, Conservation Associate of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. “This important legislation works to ensure a toxic-free future. Whether during production, consumption, or disposal, toxic chemicals get into our air, water, wildlife and natural places. We thank Assemblyman Englebright and the many other Assembly members who voted “Yes”, especially on the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. We now look to the NYS Senate to take up this issue and bring the Child Safe Products Act to the floor.”

In addition to the state legislative campaign, counties across New York are also taking action and introducing local legislation. In 2015, 28 states are expected to advance policies to protect the public from toxic chemicals.  Eleven other states are considering policies similar to New York’s Child Safe Products Act.

 

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Elected Officials Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Children from Toxic Chemicals

Child Safe Products Act Would Require New York to Report, and Ultimately Ban, Toxic Chemicals in Children’s Products

ALBANY, NY— Today, Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) and Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-East Setauket) announced the introduction of a bill that would empower New York State to identify and phase out dangerous chemicals in products marketed to kids in New York.

If enacted, the bill [S.4102/A.5612], commonly known as the Child Safe Products Act, would first establish a list of high-concern chemicals, based on authoritative scientific evidence that the chemicals cause major health problems. Next, it would establish a list of priority chemicals used in children’s products for disclosure. Children’s product makers would be required after a year to report their use of priority chemicals in their merchandise, and then phase out their use three years later.

Unless the bill is passed, thousands of toxic children’s products will remain on the shelves, tainted by chemicals like arsenic, mercury, cadmium, formaldehyde and cobalt. The toxic chemicals in children’s products have been linked to a host of serious medical problems including cancer, learning and developmental disabilities, reproductive problems, and asthma. Until the bill is enacted, New York children remain at risk.

Senator Phil Boyle, (R-Bay Shore), lead sponsor of S. 4102, said, “Protecting children from toxic chemicals is just common sense. Despite market advancements and announcements by major retailers, voluntary measures just don’t get us there. It’s up to us, as elected officials, to take action to protect our own residents.  I thank my colleague Assemblyman Englebright for introducing the Child Safe Products Act, and I am committed to seeing it enacted in 2015.”

“Children are not just small adults and their developing systems are more sensitive to and are at an increased risk of chemical exposure,” said Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Steve Englebright (D-East Setauket). “Currently, New York prohibits the use of dangerous chemicals on a chemical-by-chemical basis.  The President’s Cancer Panel reported that nearly 80,000 chemicals are used in the country today, many of which are unstudied and largely unregulated. We need to act now to protect our children’s health and the environment from unnecessary toxic chemicals found in products designed for them.”

The reintroduction of the bill has generated significant support from the public, including the JustGreen Partnership, a coalition of pediatricians, environmental groups, environmental justice leaders, learning disability advocates, parent organizations, healthy schools advocates, sustainable companies and other members of the community.

“Each year, diseases of environmental origin in New York’s children cost an estimated $4.35 billion.  These include learning and developmental disabilities, cancer, and asthma.  Such diseases are preventable, by protecting children from the chemicals that cause them,” said Dr. Philip Landrigan, MD, MSc., pediatrician and epidemiologist at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. “The Child Safe Products Act is an important part of this prevention process.”

“We must protect our children from exposure to dangerous chemicals in products meant for them. Many of these chemicals cause a reduction in a child’s brain function and behavior and can alter later reproduction,”  said Dr. David O. Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health & Environment at SUNY Albany.

“Our brothers and sisters across the country are facing alarming rates of cancers, and we need the federal government and our decision-makers at the state level to take notice and help us come up with solutions,” said Mike McManus, president, New York State Professional Fire Fighters Association. “Chemicals should be proven safe before ending up in our homes and building materials, to protect the health of Fire Fighters and families,” McManus added.

“The New York State Breast Cancer Network urges the passage of the Child Safe Products Act. Several national researchers have found that exposure to tiny amounts of estrogen-mimicking chemicals during particular ‘windows of susceptibility’, such as the pre-natal, neo-natal and pre-adolescent periods, will place female babies and girls under 12-years old at risk for breast cancer in their adult lives.” said Andi Gladstone, Executive Director of the New York State Breast Cancer Network.

“We commend the actions of our elected officials, on the local, state and county level who have already done what is necessary to protect the health and safety of our children now and for future generations,” said Francesca Sommer, Executive Director of the Learning Disabilities Association of New York State. “We urge those who have not yet done so, to join us!”

“As moms, we may differ in our approaches to parenting, our career choices, or our politics, but we can all agree that toxic chemicals do not belong in our children’s toys and products,” said Mitzi Rose, Moms for a Non-Toxic NY, Rochester chapter.

“Independent business owners need the clarity that good regulations can provide,” said Laura Ornstein, Coordinator of the New York State Sustainable Business Council. “Better regulatory oversight of chemicals will level the playing field by improving transparency, limiting liability, and reducing exposures.”

“Pregnant women, infants and children are especially vulnerable to the health impacts of toxic chemical exposure”, states Trisha Sheehan, Moms Clean Air Force Regional Field Manager. “The Child Safe Products Act is a step in the right direction to protect the families of New York from toxic chemicals. Moms should be able to trust that the products we use in our homes will not harm our children. We want strong policies that will limit our families’ exposures to toxic chemicals.”

“Toxic chemicals have absolutely no place in the homes and schools of our children,” said John Replogle, CEO of Seventh Generation, the nation’s leading brand of non-toxic and renewable bio-based household, baby and personal care solutions. “Our mission is to nurture the health of future generations, and with the introduction, and hopefully the passing of CSPA, we can see our mission through on behalf of New York’s children.”

“Time is of the essence in getting this common sense legislation passed into law,” stated Senate EnCon Committee Vice-Chair Tony Avella. “”Our children’s safety is of the utmost importance and it is our responsibility, as Legislators, to safeguard children’s toys across the state. That is why I immediately signed onto the Child Safe Products Act as a co-sponsor.  I urge my colleagues in the State Senate to vote in favor of this vital bill.”

“We need a more comprehensive approach regulating chemicals used in the manufacture of children’s toys in New York.  It’s our responsibility to ensure that our kids’ playthings do not pose serious health risks.  The effects of these chemicals in small doses can be extremely dangerous to young developing children.  Let’s pass the Child Safe Products Act this year,” said Felix W. Ortiz, Assistant Speaker in the NYS Assembly.

“New York’s parents deserve to know what is safe for their families, but right now they’re flying blind, said Kathy Curtis, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York and co-leader of the JustGreen Partnership. “Meanwhile, it’s legal and common practice to add toxic chemicals to infant’s and children’s products. To make the dream of safe products for all children a reality, the Legislature must pass this initiative and deliver it to the Governor,” Curtis added.

“Environmental Advocates of New York applauds Senator Boyle and Assemblyman Englebright for introducing the ‘Child-safe Products Act’,” said Saima Anjam, Environmental Health Director. “With the Legislature and the Governor in agreement on the need to protect our children from toxic chemicals, there is no excuse for this common sense legislation to not become law in 2015.”

“Toxic chemicals do not belong in our air or our water, and they certainly do not belong in the products children use every day,” said Caitlin Pixley, Conservation Association of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. “New Yorkers deserve a toxic-free future and we look to the Legislature for leadership on this issue, through passage of the Child Safe Products Act.”

“In the communities that we work in, families do not have the time or the finances to bypass all of the toxic products on store shelves,” said Cecil Corbin-Mark, Deputy Director of WE ACT For Environmental Justice and Co-Leader of the JustGreen Partnership. “With this bill, parents from Harlem to the west side of Buffalo can rest assured that the State of New York is on the job helping to protect their children from dangerous chemicals.”

“The alarming findings of recent reports in Albany, Westchester, and Long Island have confirmed that action is needed to protect the health of New York’s families,” said Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “Toxic chemicals have no place in children’s toys, and they should not be on store shelves for sale. Parents deserve the right to know what dangers are lurking in the products they bring home so they can make informed decisions about their families’ health.”

In addition to the state legislative campaign, counties across New York are also taking action and introducing local legislation called the Toxic-Free Toys Act. Today and tomorrow, Westchester and Suffolk counties will hold public hearings on the issue.  In 2015, 28 states are expected to advance policies to protect the public from toxic chemicals.  Eleven other states are considering policies similar to New York’s Child Safe Products Act.

Learn more about state actions at: http://www.saferstates.org/news/2015map/

Moms, Green Business join Coalition to Protect Health and the Environment

The coalition at the forefront of the movement to protect children’s health by removing toxic chemicals from their daily environment, the JustGreen Partnership, welcomes its two newest partner organizations: Moms Clean Air Force – New York Chapter, and Seventh Generation, an American company that sells cleaning, paper, and personal care products designed with human health and the environment in mind.

“We are pleased to have the added power of these two groups’ voices. Moms Clean Air Force has been an effective organizer on national issues, and we look forward to working with their New York members on issues in our state,” said Kathy Curtis, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York, and co-coordinator of the JustGreen Partnership. “Seventh Generation has long been a leader in providing products that are safe for the environment and human health, and they prove the point that economic benefit and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive.”

“Our homes, schools, workplaces, and even playgrounds are harbingers of untested chemicals. Over 80,000 synthetic chemicals are currently registered for use and can be found in everything from cleaning products to shower curtains, construction materials to craft supplies, carpeting to computers. Moms are deeply concerned about potential impacts of these untested chemicals on their health and the health of their families. Moms Clean Air Force is honored to join the New York Just Green Partnership and the work that is being done to drive change that will protect the health and benefit of New York families,” said Trisha Sheehan, Regional Field Manager for Moms Clean Air Force.

“Seventh Generation has been working passionately for years to eliminate exposure to toxic chemicals that harm human health. At the state and federal level we support smart toxic chemical regulation that will both help protect our families, and be good for business. At Seventh Generation, we’ve always strived to nuture nature, enhance health, build communities and transform commerce by living our brand and aspiring to make the world a better place,” said Ashley Orgain, manager of mission advocacy and outreach. “That’s why we are proud to join the JustGreen Partnership and help to fight for a better New York for tomorrow.”

Parents to Toy Association: Stop Fighting Protections for Kids’ Health

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(New York City) Outraged by the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) consistent public demonstrations of opposition to laws that would remove toxic chemicals from toys, parents, students, and health advocates distributed information exposing the contrast between TIA’s professed commitment to toy safety and its lobbying against proposed laws to protect children. The coalition centered their educational activity on attendees of the Toy of the Year Awards in front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

The Toy Industry Association has lobbied against legislation in numerous states that would identify toxic chemicals, prioritize those that are likely to affect children’s health, and require children’s product manufacturers to report their use of the most hazardous chemicals, even phase out their use. These laws would make toys safer, while giving parents, guardians and caregivers the information they need in order to make healthier choices. For example, in Maine, the Toy Industry Association spoke publicly against proposed action to restrict bisphenol A in food and beverage containers, none of which are considered toys.

In New York, the site of the annual Toy of the Year Awards, TIA reported taking positions on 67 Assembly bills in 2014 and 33 Senate bills. More than half of these bills addressed toxics and environmental health with no mention of children’s health or products. TIA took positions on bills that would develop a toxics information clearinghouse, limit levels of mercury in lighting, track connections between environmental exposures and health, and other issues that have no bearing on the toy industry.

The Toy Industry Association is currently working to block the efforts of NY’s counties to protect their most vulnerable residents. In December 2014, TIA testified unsuccessfully in opposition to the Albany County Toxic-Free Toys Act, and in January 2015, TIA testified against similar pending legislation in Suffolk County.

The primary question parents and advocates had was: Why is the Toy Industry Association more closely aligned with the positions of the Chemical Industry than with parents and children’s health organizations? They called on toy makers and retailers to hold their trade association accountable.

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Displaying a banner that read “TIA: Don’t Toy with Our Children’s Health,” the advocates made clear their demand for safer, healthier toys. TIA’s published statements that “safety is our top priority,” and that they “share parents’ concern about children’s potential exposure to toxic chemicals,” contrasted sharply with their actions at statehouses around the country, advocates said. Further, it is out of step with the direction of many retailers, including buybuy Baby, Walmart, Target, and CVS, which have taken steps to identify and limit toxic chemicals in products they sell.

“When TIA fights programs that would give product makers more information about chemicals in their products, when TIA fights programs that limit toxics, they leave toy makers vulnerable to the liability that comes with use of chemicals that can harm children’s health. Every day, scientific evidence draws closer connections between certain commonly used chemicals and devastating, lifelong health consequences. Why leave product makers vulnerable? TIA should use all its skills and knowledge base to support toy makers in finding truly safe, non-toxic materials,” said Bobbi Chase Wilding, Deputy Director of Clean and Healthy New York and organizer of the Getting Ready for Baby campaign.

“Our homes, schools, workplaces, and even playgrounds contain untested chemicals. Our children are exposed to them on a daily basis, including through their toys”, states Trisha Sheehan, Regional Field Manager for Moms Clean Air Force. Sheehan further states, “Some of these chemicals are known carcinogens and endocrine disrupters. For the vast majority, we don’t know their health impacts, because chemicals are not tested for safety before hitting store shelves. That’s not right. Moms across America agree that we need better laws to protect our kids from toxic chemical exposure — but the Toy Industry Association has been lobbying against such laws, even while it says that safety is its top priority. Moms say to TIA: stop the charade, or we are sending you to time out. If safety is your top priority, then protect our children from chemical exposures by seeking out innovative, safer solutions to the chemicals currently in children’s toys.”

“CEH’s work over the past ten years has eliminated toxic threats to children from dozens of products like baby bibs, lunchboxes, diaper rash creams, playground equipment and many others. In every case, companies were able to make safer products without sacrificing quality or significantly raising costs. Our work is proof that the toy industry can make safer products without disease-causing chemicals that threaten our children’s health,” says Ansje Miller, Eastern States Director for the Center for Environmental Health.

“A toy is supposed to bring joy to a child, not expose them to harmful chemicals. We childproof our homes, it’s time for the toy industry to childproof toys,” stated Pamela LaBrake, founder of Parents Against Lindane.

“The Toy Industry Association isn’t playing around when it lobbies to keep consumers in the dark about the toxic chemicals contained in children’s toys. Toy makers should come clean and support disclosure and elimination of toxics in play items. Our families deserve better,” said Aileen Sheil, NYPIRG Board of Directors Chairperson and Queens College student.

The event was organized by the JustGreen Partnership, a collaboration of over 50 organizations representing more than a million New Yorkers, which works for environmental health and justice for New York’s people and communities. Learn more at just-green.org

Governor Cuomo backs Child Safe Products Act in State of the State Book

​​JustGreen Partnership Praises Cuomo’s Support for Protecting Children’s Health, Calls for Swift Legislative Action

The JustGreen Partnership issued the following statement in response to Governor Cuomo’s 2015 Opportunity Agenda:

“The JustGreen Partnership commends Governor Cuomo for including a call to protect children’s health from toxic chemicals in his Opportunity Agenda by supporting the Child Safe Products Act. It comes on the heels of Albany County’s groundbreaking Toxic-Free Toys Act, which bans seven toxic chemicals in children’s products. The JustGreen Partnership urges the Legislature to act swiftly to safeguard all of New York’s children from hazards that could be posed by a beloved toy, article of clothing, or piece of jewelry. Doing so will help give all our children a better opportunity to grow up healthy. It will give businesses the opportunity to offer the safer products consumers demand.”

“We know many dangerous chemicals are used in kids’ products, but we also know they can be made with safer materials. It is simply common sense to ensure items meant for young people, who are particularly vulnerable, do not contribute to cancer, learning and developmental disabilities, asthma, early puberty, obesity, diabetes, or future reproductive challenges.”

“​Enacting the Child Safe Products Act ​doesn’t just help our children’s health, it also creates opportunities for innovation and business growth. It strongly supports the growing demand for products made with safer chemicals and the businesses who meet that demand. We look forward to working with the Governor and the New York State Legislature to make these protections a reality.”

The JustGreen Partnership is a collaboration of more than 50 organizations, including Clean and Healthy New York, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Center for Environmental Health, Environmental Advocates of New York, Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, Learning Disabilities Association of New York State, New York State League of Conservation Voters, New York State Nurses Association, New York State Sustainable Business Council, New York State United Teachers, NYPIRG, and Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. The Partnership works for environmental health and justice for New York’s people and communities. Learn more at just-green.org

Parents, Advocates Laud Signing of “Toxic-Free Toys Act” into Law

Historic action by Albany County will protect children’s health

(Albany) Today, County Executive, Daniel McCoy stood with parents and children by signing the Toxic Free Toys Act, Local Law “J” into law in Albany County. The bill bans the sale of seven toxic chemicals in children’s products. Less than two months after a major report, Toxic Toys in Albany County, found dangerous chemicals in children’s toys and products in Albany County, the County Legislature and County Executive Dan McCoy have enacted legislation to protect our children from the most hazardous chemicals known to cause cancer, reproductive disorders, autism, and learning disabilities.

“We applaud the Albany County Legislature for passing Local Law “J”, and County Executive McCoy for signing it into law,” said Kathy Curtis, executive director of Clean and Healthy New York. “This brings us one step closer to the day when all products are safe for kids.”

“Protecting children is one of government’s most vital tasks. Today, Albany County took a bold step in that direction by signing the Toxic Free Toy Act into law,” said Albany County Legislator Bryan M. Clenahan. “I am very proud to have sponsored this bill and very proud to have worked with so many amazing advocates and citizens to make it law. Thank you to the County Executive and my Legislative colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Albany County has taken the lead on this important issue – let’s hope that other localities and the State Legislature follow our example.”

“Kudos to County Executive McCoy for brushing aside the self-interested chemical industry blather and standing with parents and kids to promote child health,” said NYPIRG Counsel Russ Haven. “This is good policy and smart politics and it will make the world safer for children.”

“By signing into law this common sense legislation, County Executive McCoy has demonstrated he is a leader where federal and state governments have failed to act,” said Caitlin Pixley, Conservation Associate at Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. “This smart policy protects the health and well-being of the children of Albany County and creates momentum for similar legislation to pass throughout New York State.”

“We owe it to our children to protect them from known toxins. Thank you County Executive McCoy for doing the right thing.” Francesca Sommer Executive Director, Learning Disabilities Association of New York State.

“We are thrilled that County Executive McCoy signed this bill into law to protect kids from toxic chemicals,” said Christopher Goeken, Director of Public Policy for the New York League of Conservation Voters. “Parents won’t have to worry about mercury, lead and arsenic in the toys they buy for their kids.”

“We’re thrilled Albany County Executive McCoy took the bold step of signing the county legislator Clenahan’s Toxic Free Toys Act into law. Albany will be a leader in keeping children and families safe from chemicals that are known to cause harm” said Saima Anjam of Environmental Advocates of New York.

“We applaud County Executive McCoy for this step to protect the County’s children from harmful chemicals that have no place in their toys,” said Ansje Miller of CEH. “Albany County today is leading the way towards safer products for children and families across New York and ultimately nationwide. All businesses should know that consumers want safer, sustainable products for their children, families and homes.” Learn more at just-green.org

BREAKING: Victory in Albany County as Legislature Passes Toxic Free Toys Act!

LOCAL FAMILIES DESERVE TOXIC FREE TOYS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

Albany County Legislature Approves Law to Protect Kids from Toxic Toys

(Albany, NY) Less than a month after a major report, Toxic Toys in Albany County, found dangerous chemicals in children’s toys and products in Albany County, the County Legislature voted on legislation Local Law “J” to ban the sale of toys and products containing the most toxic chemicals. The law passed 35-4, enjoying broad bipartisan support. The bill now goes to the County Executive McCoy to be signed.

“Protecting children is one of government’s most vital tasks,” said Albany County Legislator Bryan Clenahan. “In this season of giving, no child’s gifts should contain toxic chemicals. Unfortunately, we’ve see that many toys and other products have dangerous concentrations of substances known to cause illness and disability. That’s why I’m backing the Toxic-Free Toys Act in the County Legislature. It’s our responsibility to keep our kids safe.”

“Time for Albany to get the lead out—and other toxic chemicals—from children’s toys,” said NYPIRG Legislative Counsel Russ Haven. “If states are the laboratories for democracy, then local governments are the engine rooms to drive policy reforms. Albany must not shrink from this opportunity to be a catalyst for improving children’s health and safety in New York.” “As a parent, I look forward to the day when I can walk into a store and know that the things I buy to care for my daughters are safe and healthy,” said Bobbi Chase Wilding, Deputy Director of Clean and Healthy New York. “As an advocate, I’m appalled that we’re not there yet. Toxic chemicals are often added to children’s products, and that’s got to stop. We applaud the Albany County Legislature for passing Local Law J, and urge County Executive McCoy to sign it. Parents like me will flock to Albany County to do their shopping once this bill goes into effect,” Wilding added.

“A lump of coal in your stocking is one thing—but arsenic?” said Christopher Goeken, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for the New York League of Conservation Voters. “We thank Albany County Legislators for protecting the kids of Albany County from toxic toys this holiday season and beyond.”

“Albany County is showing leadership where the state and federal government have failed: keeping kids safe from toxic toys. Children are at greater risk of toxic chemicals due to their rapid development and increased exposure. This measure is as common-sense as they come, and it recognizes that with all the science and information available today, there is no excuse for allowing toxic chemical companies and toy makers to make a profit off unsuspecting parents and consumers. We applaud County Legislator Bryan Clenahan for sponsoring the bill, and the County Legislature for its leadership in passing the bill. We call on Governor Cuomo and state legislators to also step up to protect kids statewide in 2015,” said Saima Anjam of Environmental Advocates of New York, and an Albany county resident.

“Steps must be taken to reduce children’s exposure to toxins in products. Studies have clearly demonstrated that even very low levels of toxins can affect intellectual abilities and physical development. It is time for everyone to take responsibility to address this alarming situation—we owe it to our children and future generations,” said Francesca Sommer, Executive Director, Learning Disabilities Association of New York State.

The Toxic-Free Toys Act will ban the sale of children’s products containing heavy metals and benzene. Advocates identified twelve such items for sale in the county in a report released last month. Learn more at just-green.org

39 SENATORS NOW SUPPORT BILL TO PROTECT KIDS FROM TOXICS IN TOYS

REPUBLICAN SPONSORS JOINED BY ENTIRE IDC & MOST DEMOCRATS ON BILL

53 GROUPS CALL UPON SENATE LEADERSHIP TO BRING THE BILL TO FLOOR VOTE

MOMS WONDER: WILL SENATOR SKELOS SIDE WITH KIDS AND BRING BILL TO THE FLOOR OR SIDE WITH CHEMICAL MAKERS AND BLOCK THE VOTE?

(Albany) There are now 39 Senate sponsors on a bill to protect children from toxic chemicals intentionally added to toys, clothes, furniture and other products marketed to kids—representing 64% of sitting Senators. The Child Safe Products Act [S.4614a (Boyle)], amended in the Senate on Friday, passed in its original form the Assembly for the third time in a row earlier this year. 9 Republicans, all 5 Independent Democratic Conference members and 25 Democrats officially back the bill. Several more have committed to voting for the measure when it reaches the Senate floor.

The legislation is modeled on laws operating in Maine and Washington States and designed to encourage manufacturers of children’s products to remove intentionally added toxic chemicals. Toxic chemicals are particularly harmful to infants, toddlers and young children and linked to many serious health problems, including asthma, autism, learning disabilities, pediatric cancers and reproductive damage. They also contaminate drinking water, pollute the air, harm wildlife and cause untold natural resource damage.

The current Senate sponsors are: Boyle, Addabbo, Avella, Ball, Breslin, Carlucci, Diaz, Dilan, Espaillat, Gianaris, Gipson, Golden, Hassell-Thompson, Hoylman, Kennedy, Klein, Krueger, Lanza, Latimer, Lavalle, Martins, Montgomery, O’Brien, Parker, Peralta, Perkins, Ritchie, Rivera, Robach, Sampson, Sanders, Savino, Serrano, Squadron, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousins, Tkaczyk, Valesky and Young.

The Child Safe Products Act has broad support among environmental, public health, healthcare provider, children’s advocacy, labor, civil right and community-based organizations, as well as businesses, such as Seventh Generation and the American Sustainable Business Council. 53 organizations have issued statements or submitting memos in support of the bill.

The bill cleared the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee this month without a single “no” vote. With 39 sponsors on the bill it has significantly more than the minimum number of votes to pass in the Senate and a sufficient number to support a motion to consider to place the bill on the floor.

Christine Brouwer of Moms for a Non-Toxic New York – Ithaca Chapter said, “The Child Safe Products Act is a bill whose time has come. The only question now is whether Senator Skelos will let the full Senate vote. Will he side with moms trying to protect their kids, or the chemical industry?” Christine lost her middle child, Mira, to brain cancer in 2008.

“Our children deserve the safest environment we as parents can give them. When toxic chemicals are used in their products, it puts their health at risk and adds to the toxic burden in their environment. Right now, parents have no way to pick the safe products. We need the State Senate to help us safeguard our children,” said Kate McArdle, of Moms for a Non-Toxic New York – Rochester Chapter and mother of two.

“It is a mistake to pit all businesses against environmental and health concerns, with the assumption being that caring about our communities is contrary to being profitable. Leading companies are highly motivated to identify and use safer alternatives to toxic chemicals. The Child Safe Products Act enables New York State to become more competitive, innovative, and economically sustainable. It is time for Senator Skelos and Senator Klein to bring it to the floor for a vote,” said Laura Neiderhofer, of the New York State Sustainable Business Council.

“The Child Safe Products Act will protect children’s health and New York’s environment by limiting toxic chemicals in common products marketed to children. The bill will empower parents to choose safer products, and send a powerful market signal for product developers to fully consider toxicity in materials selection. It’s common sense. Few if any bills enjoy this much support in the Senate. It’s time for a vote. Period,” said Kathy Curtis, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York and co-leader of the JustGreen Partnership.

The JustGreen Partnership is a diverse coalition of more than 50 organizations. Learn more at just-green.org

Advocates Applaud Historic Vote in Senate on Child Safe Products Act

 Urge Rapid Advancement to Reach Floor this Session

(Albany) In its final meeting of the year, the New York State Senate Environmental Conservation Committee voted unanimously to advance the Child Safe Products Act to the Finance Committee, the first time a Senate committee has taken such a vote on the bill.

This bill has tremendous support with 37 of 61 Senators signed on as co-sponsors, and the enthusiastic support from all five IDC members. Forty seven business, health professional, health-affected, children’s, labor and environmental organizations have submitted memos in support, and more are arriving daily.

“What are we waiting for? Today’s unanimous vote shows that the Child Safe Products Act has the momentum it needs to get to the floor for a vote,” said Kathy Curtis, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York and Co-leader of Just Green Partnership. “Thanks to Senator Boyle for his leadership in protecting children from the dangers of toxic chemical exposure.”

The bill acts to protect children from toxic chemicals by declaring a list of chemicals of concern, establishing a priority list of nine chemicals, requiring manufacturers to disclose priority chemicals in children’s products, and phasing out their use.

Senator Phil Boyle, (R-Bay Shore), lead sponsor of S. 4614 said, “This is not a controversial issue. Protecting children from toxic chemicals is just common sense. I thank my colleagues for advancing the Child Safe Products Act, and am committed to seeing it reach the Senate floor for a full vote.”

Laura Neiderhofer of the New York State Sustainable Business Council said, “New York State business leaders are concerned about the health and business impacts that can arise if the products they use or sell contain toxic chemicals. Now we are one step closer to passing the Child Safe Products Act, which will drive the marketplace towards safer solutions, support companies that make safer products, and restore consumer confidence. Having passed the Assembly three years in a row now, we are looking to the New York State Senate leadership to ensure it passes this session.”

“Passage of the Child Safe Products Act without a single no vote from any member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee is a good first step, but to protect children in our most vulnerable communities the Senate needs to bring up this bill and pass it. WE ACT thanks Chairman Grisanti, Vice Chair Avella, and committee members Senators Serrano and Espaillat of Harlem and Washington Heights for their hard work. Let’s finish the job to protect kids,” said Cecil Corbin-Mark, Deputy Director of WE ACT and Co-leader of Just Green Partnership.

Michael Helman, Executive Director of the Learning Disabilities Association of Western New York said, “Our deepest thanks to Senator Grisanti for moving forward the Child Safe Products Act. This is a crucial step towards enacting legislation that will safeguard our children from toxic chemicals. The bill provides a comprehensive framework for addressing the issue of toxic chemicals in children’s products, and the New York State Senate leadership should take the next step and allow the bill to be considered by the full senate.  We have the utmost confidence that this will occur because no responsible party would turn a blind eye towards New York State’s most valuable asset, our children.”

“With today’s senate committee vote, The Child Safe Products Act takes its first step towards passage and protecting the children of New York from the exposure of toxic chemicals,” said Caitlin Pixley, Conservation Associate with the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. “In order to ensure this bill becomes law, it is now up to Senate leadership to act. We continue to thank Senator Boyle for his sponsorship and Senator Avella in working to move S.4614.”

“It’s simply common sense that products intended for our children should be safe before they are allowed on store shelves. New York’s children deserve safe products made without chemicals that can make them sick,” said Ansje Miller, Eastern States Director of the Center for Environmental Health.

“As Long Islanders, we have enjoyed a long history of advancing laws that protect our children and our families from environmental chemicals that cause illness. We call on each and every one of our elected Long Island representatives to support The Child Safe Products Act as it moves forward to a vote,” said Karen Joy Miller of the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition.

“We’re pleased this common sense legislation was approved by the Senate environment committee,” said Saima Anjam of Environmental Advocates of New York. “But the leaders of the Senate need to bring the bill before the full body for a vote. Parents deserve to know if products contain dangerous chemicals. Our kids deserve a vote.”

“To put it simply, children and toxic chemicals do not mix,” said New York League of Conservation Voters President Marcia Bystryn. “Today, the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee stood up for New York families by approving common sense legislation that will help address longstanding concerns about dangerous chemicals in children’s toys and products. We applaud members of the committee for their support and we look forward to the Senate leadership bringing this legislation to the floor for a vote as soon as possible.”

Nine Senators voted for the bill with an unqualified “yes” – Senators LaValle, Marcellino, Young, Avella, Espaillat, Latimer, O’Brien, Serrano, and Tkaczyk.  Four voted yes without recommendation – Senators Grisanti, Little, Maziarz, and O’Mara.

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Assembly Acts to Protect Kids from Toxics

Child Safe Products Act Passes with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support, Advances to New York State Senate

Bill Passes as Buy Buy Baby Calls on Vendors to Avoid Chemicals on New “Restricted Substances List”

Baby Chewing on Ducky (Albany, NY) The New York State Assembly Tuesday passed the Child Safe Products Act, a bill sponsored by Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Assemblyman Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) that will reduce the use of toxic chemicals in products made for children.  The bill passed amid budget negotiations, signaling the importance placed on it by Assembly leadership.  With the vote count 111-25, it passed with more bipartisan support: last year’s Assembly vote count was 111-30.  At least five Republican Assemblymembers who voted against the bill in 2013 supported its passage this year.

“Children are more sensitive to and are at an increased risk from chemical exposure. Currently, New York prohibits the use of dangerous chemicals on a chemical-by-chemical basis.  The Presidents’ Cancer Panel reported that nearly 80,000 chemicals are used in the country today, many of which are unstudied and largely unregulated. We must act to protect children’s health from unnecessary toxic chemicals found in products designed for kids.  It’s time to put health concerns first,” said Assemblyman Sweeney.

Senator Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore), sponsor of matching legislation, said “I applaud the Assembly’s passage today of the Child Safe Product Act with a record amount of bipartisan support.  As more legislators see the importance of protecting our children against toxic chemicals, I urge my Senate colleagues to support this important legislation.”

Advocates praised today’s vote, which comes on the heels of Buy Buy Baby’s parent company Bed Bath & Beyond issuing a Restricted Substances List of chemicals for vendors to avoid in products and manufacturing.  They, along with other retailers including Walmart and Target, see an opportunity to increase their profit margin by taking action to address toxic chemicals by issuing restricted chemicals lists and establishing chemical sustainability programs.  Product makers are also responding to public demand for safer products by reformulating – most notably, Johnson & Johnson announced in February that it changed its process so its baby shampoos are free from carcinogens.

Kathleen Curtis, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York and co-leader of the JustGreen Partnership, said, “Retailers and product makers recognize that people want safer products, and forward-thinking companies are responding.  New York State needs to act to ensure that all children’s products are safe, regardless of who makes or sells them.  We thank the Assembly for taking this important vote.”

Cecil Corbin-Mark, Deputy Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice and co-leader of the JustGreen Partnership, said, “Low income communities and communities of color across New York are lucky to have leaders like Assemblyman Sweeney and Senator Boyle. The Child Safe Products Act will put an end to toxic toys on the shelves of 99 cents stores in our neighborhoods.  We thank the Assembly for their action and urge the Senate to follow suit quickly.”

Joshua Klainberg from New York League of Conservation Voters said “We applaud the NYS Assembly, and bill sponsor Bob Sweeney, for taking a strong stand to protect children’s health.  As more than half the Senate supports the matching bill sponsored by Senator Phil Boyle, we urge that body to move quickly to turn this bill into a law.”

Saima Anjam from Environmental Advocates said, “Parents assume the products they buy are safe and the chemicals used to make them have been vetted, but that is often not the case. Typically, when a chemical is banned from use, companies can simply switch to another equally toxic chemical. This bill sets forth a comprehensive plan to keep parents informed, and removes unnecessary toxic chemicals from the products they give their children. We applaud Assemblyman Sweeney for his leadership on this common-sense legislation and call on Senate Leadership to finally bring Senator Boyle’s bill, which has the support of a majority of members, to the floor for a vote.”

“The revolving door of toxic chemicals in children’s products must be stopped.  The cycle of replacing one toxic chemical with another merely renders parents confused and puts our children’s health at risk.  Citizens Campaign for the Environment commends Assemblyman Sweeney for his leadership to pass the Child Safe Products Act in the Assembly.  We now need the Senate to take action to make products for our children safe once and for all,” said Adrienne Esposito, CCE Executive Director.

“The NYS Assembly took a stand today with the passage of A.6328, the Child Safe Products Act,” said Caitlin Pixley, Conservation Association of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. “The 38,000+ members of the Atlantic Chapter thank Assemblyman Sweeney for being a leader on this extremely important issue, as well as the many other Assembly members who voted ‘Yes’ to protect NY’s children and NY’s environment. Whether at the production, consumption, or disposal-level, toxic chemicals find their way into our everyday environment, including our air, water, and natural places.  We now look the NYS Senate to take up this issue and vote to ensure a toxic-free New York by passing the Child Safe Products Act.”

Russ Haven, NYPIRG Legislative Counsel said, “The question now becomes, with 35 sponsors, will Senate Co-Leaders Skelos and Klein put this bill on the floor for a vote?  If the answer is ‘yes,’ parents soon will be armed with useful information to make smart choices when they shop and the health and safety of New York’s children will be dramatically improved.”

Pam LaBrake, Founder of Parents Against Lindane said, “It’s never too early to put kids first, thank you.”

Chemicals in consumer goods can cause significant, lifelong health problems, including asthma, infertility, learning and developmental disabilities, obesity, diabetes and cancer.  As children move through critical windows of development, they are more vulnerable to toxic chemicals.  Mt. Sinai School of Medicine has estimated that diseases of environmental origin cost New York State at least $4.35 billion each year.

The JustGreen Partnership is a collaboration of 54 organizations representing more than a million New Yorkers working for environmental health and justice for New York’s people and communities.  Learn more at www.just-green.org.

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See what Assemblyman Sweeney said following the vote on the floor: