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/

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