Over 5,000 Children’s Products Contain Toxic Chemicals of Concern to Kids’ Health, Companies Report to Washington StateAdvocates Call for NYS Senate to Pass the Child Safe Products Act
Albany, NY– Over 5,000 children’s products contain toxic chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and reproductive problems according to reports filed with the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology). Groups in the JustGreen Partnership co-released an analysis of the reports by the Washington Toxics Coalition and Safer States, which found that makers of kids’ products reported using 41 of the chemicals identified by Washington State as a concern for children’s health, including toxic metals such as cadmium, mercury, and antimony.
Major manufacturers who reported using the chemicals in their products include Walmart, Gap, Gymboree, Hallmark, and H & M. The chemical reports are required under Washington State’s Children’s Safe Products Act of 2008. The reports cover children’s products sold in Washington State from June 1, 2012 to March 1, 2013. Read more...
A new peer-reviewed study published today in Environmental Science and Technology shows a carcinogen has been used to replace banned toxic flame retardants in many couches sampled in New York and across the United States. The chemical, a chlorinated Tris known as TDCPP, was removed from children's pajamas in 1977 and has been found in many infant -care products. The toxic flame retardant was the subject of a proposed legislative ban in children's products in New York in 2012, but failed to pass the Senate in the final hours of session. All four couch samples submitted by New Yorkers contained flame retardants: three contained TDCPP, and one contained pentaBDE.Read more...
Assembly hearing on flame retardant chemicals in children’s products brings out many supporters for a ban, only one opponent
Following last week’s implosion of the chemical industry front group “Citizens for Fire Safety,” the American Chemistry Council (ACC) made its public debut representing the only opposition to banning a cancer-causing chemical in children’s products. ACC’s Stephen Rosario and North American Flame Retardant Alliance’s Jackson Morrill were the first speakers at yesterday’s Assembly hearing on flame retardant chemicals in children’s products. Not only were they the only speakers present to fail to submit written testimony, they appeared to be profoundly unprepared.
They opened their statement by disavowing Citizens for Fire Safety (CFFS), even though the CEO of Albemarle (one of the three CFFS co-founding chemical makers) is on ACC’s board of directors. They also said they would not talk about the recent Chicago Tribune series that exposed CFFS as an industry front group that distorted science, gave misleading testimony, and exaggerated the effectiveness of their products.Read more...
As Industry Front Group Falls, Advocates Call for State and U.S. Senate to Protect Kids from Toxic Chemicals
At an Assembly Hearing on Thursday, doctors, fire fighters, burn victim advocates, scientists, business representatives and others spoke out in favor of removing toxic chemicals added to children’s products as flame retardants. Convened by the Assembly Environmental Conservation and Health Committees, the Hearing focused on the science surrounding the safety and effectiveness of flame retardant chemicals and examined the effectiveness of New York's approach to chemical bans in children's products.Read more...
Parents, Advocates Tell the NYS Senate: Don't Duck Reform – Protect Kids from Toxics
In the wake of the May 22nd National Stroller Brigade for Safe Chemicals, parents, toddlers, and advocates gathered in front of a 25' Rubber Ducky and urged the New York State Senate to protect children from toxic chemicals. They called on the Senate to introduce and pass legislation that would identify chemicals of high concern, select priority chemicals from the high concern list, require children's product makers to report their use, and ultimately phase them out.
Concerns have been raised within the scientific community about the role of synthetic chemicals in the rise of many common diseases and illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, learning disabilities, inability to have children (including both female infertility and damage to sperm), hormone disruption, obesity and diabetes, to name a few. A number of these chemicals are used in products children touch every day. Yet product makers don't disclose the chemicals in their products, and the scientific information is complex.
“As the mom of an adult with autism and developmental disabilities, I can’t help but wonder what she was exposed to in her crib and what toxic toys we might have bought her,” said Julia Walter, who is trained as a special education teacher. “People think of children with autism – they forget this is a lifelong condition.”
“At this point, I feel like I would have to be a toxicologist with a full chemistry lab in my basement just to understand what's in my children's toys, furniture and car seats,” said Sarah Howard, mother of two. “Parents have enough on their plates – they shouldn't have to worry about whether their baby's nursing pillow is leaching dangerous chemicals.”
The last few weeks have seen startling revelations about the tactics some chemical companies have used to keep toxic chemicals in common children's products and other household furnishings. The Chicago Tribune revealed in a four-day, front-page series that makers of “flame retardants” - including those used in nursing pillows, car seats, strollers, changing pads, couches and more – have used “Big Tobacco” tactics to keep their chemicals in use. The series documents the failure of these chemicals in household products to prevent fires, and illuminated the health problems posed by many of them. The three chemical makers – Albemarle, Chemtura, and ICL – have used a front-group called Citizens for Fire Safety Institute to distort both fire science and toxicological studies.
Grisanti Bill Would Ban Cancer-Causing Chemical in Children’s Products
New York Poised to Become a National Leader
Earlier today, the New York State Senate Environmental Conservation Committee voted unanimously to report a bill, S. 6080 sponsored by Senator Mark Grisanti (R-Buffalo), that would ban a hazardous chemical in children’s products. The Assembly unanimously passed the matching legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst), earlier this spring. If enacted, New York State would become the first in the nation to restrict the use of this chemical.
TDCPP, or “Tris,” was voluntarily pulled from children’s pajamas in the 1970s after it was shown to mutate DNA. The State of California declared it a probable carcinogen in 2011. The World Health Organization, National Cancer Institute, National Research Council and Consumer Product Safety Commission call it a health hazard. TDCPP was found in 36% of children’s products, as reported in a May 2011 peer-reviewed study. 80% of foam from children’s products purchased in fall 2011 contained TDCPP.
“New York State has the opportunity to be a leader in protecting children’s health, by passing S. 6080, just as it was a leader in real fire prevention by requiring the use of fire-safe cigarettes. We now face the worst of both worlds: Tris and other toxic chemicals don’t prevent fires, and they do threaten our children’s health and poison our environment,” said Kathy Curtis, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York “The Senate should act quickly to pass S. 6080, and send this to the Governor for his signature.”
The New York State Assembly overwhelmingly passed the Child-Safe Products Act 104-39 in the early Wednesday evening, after minimal debate. The bipartisan show of support for children’s health was lauded by parents, teachers, nurses, health advocates, and others.
The measure, A. 3141a, sponsored by Assemblyman Robert Sweeney, was backed by the JustGreen Partnership, a broad, diverse collaboration of over 50 organizations representing more than a million New Yorkers. It contains the following provisions:
- Establishment of a list of “chemicals of high concern” that appear on authoritative government lists as causing cancer, reproductive problems, learning and developmental disabilities, and other common chronic health problems.
- Identification of “priority chemicals,” starting with a dozen chemicals that include heavy metals and carcinogens.
- A requirement that manufacturers disclose their use of priority chemicals in products made for children ages 12 and under.
- Starting in 2016, a prohibition on sales in New York of children’s products containing priority chemicals. The bill also enables the State to leverage resources by working with a multi-state collaborative called the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse.
“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 everyday products. It’s time to put health concerns first and we can start this process by protecting our children. This bill sets up a regulatory framework in which dangerous chemicals in children's products can be banned. I urge the Senate to follow the Assembly's lead on this issue," said Assemblyman Bob Sweeney, Chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation.
"Protecting our children from exposure to toxic chemicals makes good public health sense. According to the World Health Organization, 25% of all chronic illnesses can be linked to environmental exposures. Eliminating the exposures during the child's formative years means a healthier future population," said Thomas Lowe, MPH, RN, COHN-S, Health and Safety Representative for the New York State Nurses Association. “ Our legislators should be proud of the legacy they are leaving for that future population.”
"We applaud the Assembly for passing this important bill as part of their green agenda," said Saima Anjam of Environmental Advocates of New York. "Targeting chemicals in children’s products is a key step to reducing harmful effects of unnecessary exposure in children and the environment."
"New York can take a quantum leap forward in protecting children from toxic chemical exposures by passing the Child-Safe Products Act," said NYPIRG Legislative Counsel Russ Haven. "The Assembly has done its part by passing Assemblyman Sweeney's comprehensive bill. It's now time for the Senate to stand up for children's health by passing legislation that will begin the process of identifying toxic chemical usage and getting toxics out of kids' consumer products."
Groups pointed to outdated and ineffective federal laws aimed at managing chemicals in the marketplace, especially the Toxic Substance Control Act, as well as enactment of policies similar to A3141a in other states, as why New York should take action. The U.S. Senate is advancing the Safe Chemicals act to reform TSCA, co-sponsored by both New York Senators, but there is no foreseeable action in the House.
“62,000 chemicals were assumed safe in 1976, and were allowed to be used widely in commerce without any meaningful information on environmental and health impacts. Now there roughly 80,000 chemicals used in commerce,” said Kathy Curtis, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York. “While work continues to fix our broken federal laws, New York’s children continue to bear the brunt of unchecked use of chemicals that can affect their health and development. Our State must take action now.”
Organizations in the JustGreen Partnership are now turning their attention to the New York State Senate.
Groups Praise Bi-Partisan Advancement of Bill Through Assembly Codes Committee
(Albany) Parents, businesses, health care professionals, health advocates, environmental groups and others praised the bi-partisan vote (17-5) for advancement of A. 3141a, known as the Child Safe Products Act, through the Assembly Codes Committee today. The legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Bob Sweeney, creates a framework for identifying and addressing toxic chemicals used in children's products. Recent studies have shown ongoing widespread use in children's products of chemicals that can cause cancer, increase the likelihood of learning disabilities, disrupt hormones, and mutate DNA.
Organizations in the JustGreen Partnership, a diverse health-based coalition, agree that the Child Safe Products Act will help make New York a healthier place.
"The incidence of learning disabilities and related neurological impairments such as autism is on the rise, and with this comes enormous personal challenges, family challenges, and increasing costs to health, educational and and social support systems," said Stephen Boese, Executive Director of the Learning Disabilities Association of New York State. "Chemicals now found in children's products can cause learning and other developmental disabilities. We applaud the Assembly for advancing a framework policy to address toxic chemicals and thereby taking a necessary and important step towards prevention of future incidence of learning and developmental disabilities."
"There is a direct connection between the toxic chemicals found in consumer products and the presence of these chemicals in the environment - the downstream effect can be noxious to the overall health of both humans and wildlife. By keeping these toxins out of our products, A.3141-A reduces New Yorkers' exposure to hazardous substances and works to protect our air, water, wildlife and families" said Caitlin Pixley of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter.
The Child-Safe Products Act establishes a list of chemicals of high concern - covering roughly 1,700 chemicals in commerce. It selects a subset within the chemicals of high concern that are a priority for action, including heavy metals, tris and benzene. The Department of Environmental Conservation, working with the Department of Health, would be able to add or remove chemicals from either list through periodic review. Children's product manufacturers would be required to report the use of priority chemicals. Then, starting in 2016, they would be prohibited from using priority chemicals in products for children ages 12 and under.
The JustGreen Partnership is a diverse collaboration with over 50 organizational partners, working for environmental health and justice for New York's people and communities.
In a bipartisan victory for children's health, the New York State Assembly passed A. 9045, which expands the Tris-free Children and Babies Act to include the form of tris (TDCPP) that was removed from children's sleepwear in 1979 because it can mutate DNA. Studies have since shown that TDCPP can harm the developing brain, disrupt hormones, and cause cancer. The State of California’s Carcinogen Identification Council has determined it is a carcinogen. The diverse collaboration of health-affected organizations, environmental justice groups, teachers, nurses, business leaders and environmental health organizations, known as the JustGreen Partnership, praised the bill's passage, and urged the New York Senate to follow suit.Read more...
It’s clear that for New York legislators, children’s health has bipartisan support. On Thursday, the Assembly Codes committee unanimously advanced a ban on the toxic chemical Tris to the Assembly Floor. Tris, the common name for TDCPP, is a cancer-causing, hormone-disrupting chemical currently added to many foam products, including those for infants and very young children. The proposed law would ban Tris in products made for children ages three and under.
This action comes as Washington State is considering similar legislation in a session that ends March 8th.Read more...
On Monday, February 13th, JustGreen Partners gathered outside the Javits Center to protest the Toy Industry Association's repeated lobbying against laws that would protect children's health. The group included representatives from NYPIRG, Center for Environmental Health, Center for Health, Environment and Justice, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and Clean and Healthy New York.
JustGreen Partners distributed nearly a thousand flyers to 2012 Toy Fair, an annual which connects toy makers with wholesale and retail buyers.
The action drew attention from Toy Industry Association representatives, including Communications and Government Relations staff, who can be seen in the background of the photo above. They argued that all are welcome to participate in the voluntary, consensus-based ASTM standards. One of the TIA reps who talked with CEH's Ansje Miller works full time on participating in this standard setting.
TIA lobbies in statehouses across the nation against laws that would protect children's health. In New York. TIA has lobbied on numerous environmental health provisions, many with no impact on toymakers.
Bipartisan Action Shows That Children’s Health Crosses Political Bounds
Albany, NY –In Tuesday’s NYS Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, children’s health advocates awaited a debate on legislation that would expand last year’s law banning a chemical known as TCEP from children’s products. The new legislation would include an additional toxic chemical, TDCPP, in the ban. Both chemicals are commonly called “chlorinated tris” chemicals. What they saw surprised and encouraged them: unanimous, bipartisan advancement of the legislation through the committee.
“The New York State Legislature led the way in 2011 by passing a bill I sponsored, the Tris-Free Children and Babies Act, the first of its kind in the nation. Although this was an important first step in protecting children from TCEP, one form of toxic Tris, it's clear that there is more work to be done to protect children from carcinogenic TDCPP, which is widely used and harmful,” saidAssemblyman Robert Sweeney, Environmental Conservation Committee Chair. "Why would we allow a chemical banned from children's sleepwear because of its toxicity to be used in other nursery items? This legislation is one of my priorities for 2012," Sweeney added.Read more...
Lack of Federal Reform Makes State Laws More Urgent
In 2012, at least 28 state legislatures will consider legislation to address concerns over toxic chemicals in consumer products, according to a new analysis by Safer States, a national coalition of state-based environmental organizations. Bills to be introduced this year will cover a broad list of topics, including bans on toxic chlorinated Tris flame retardants and cadmium, and requirements that makers of consumer products publicly disclose chemicals in products. Read more...
Popular baby products, including nursing pillows and car seats, contain toxic chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and other health effects, according to a new report authored by the Washington Toxics Coalition and released today by Clean and Healthy New York. Children and families are exposed to these Tris chemicals when they escape from products and contaminate house dust and indoor air.
“Appallingly, this is just one study in a long line documenting toxic chemicals in the products families rely upon. No parent would deliberately expose their baby in this way. Product makers need to stop simply moving darting from one toxic chemical as it is banned to another,” said Bobbi Chase Wilding, contributor to the study and Deputy Director for Clean and Healthy New York. “Further state action is needed to end this toxic shell game. ”Read more...
The New York State Assembly committees on Environmental Conservation, Health, and Consumer Affairs and Protection are holding a public hearing on the Child-Safe Products Act, and the broader subject of toxic chemicals in children's products. The public is invited to attend and speak - and our Assemblymembers need to hear from parents and others concerned about children's health.
Join JustGreen Partners as we call for the Child-Safe Products Act to be made into law!
Where: 250 Broadway, New York, NY - Assembly Hearing Room
When: 10 am, Monday, December 5, 2011
To testify: Fill out this form, and call Steve Liss at 518-455-5787.
Full details about the hearing can be found here.
Advocates Laud Passage as First in the Nation, Call on Governor to Sign the "Tris-free Children and Babies Act"
Chemical Facing Ban Was Recently Found in 17% of Foam Baby Products Tested
(Albany) Organizations in the JustGreen Partnership hailed passage of S. 4085a/A. 6919a in the Senate today, following the Assembly's earlier passage of the bill. The "Tris-Free Children and Babies Act" would prohibit the sale of products containing a cancer-causing chemical called "TCEP" if they are meant for young children and babies. TCEP is no longer produced in Europe and has been identified by Canada as posing a risk to human health. In a recent scientific study, TCEP was found in 17% of foam baby products tested. (Including the padded seat cushion shown here.) These products include those on which babies spend the vast majority of their time, including nursing pillows, car seats, crib positioners, baby carriers, high chairs, and booster seats.
"It takes forward-thinking leaders like Assemblyman Sweeney and Senator Grisanti to pass the first state-level tris ban in the nation," said Kathy Curtis, Policy Director for Clean New York and co-coordinator of the JustGreen Partnership. "Until comprehensive, sensible chemical policy is a reality, we're glad we can depend on them to protect the health of New York's babies and children," Curtis added.Read more...
A study of products designed for newborns, babies, and toddlers – including car seats, breast feeding pillows, changing pads, crib wedges, bassinet mattresses and other items made with polyurethane foam – found that 80% of products tested contained chemical flame retardants that are considered toxic, according to a peer-reviewed study published in Environmental Science & Technology Journal. Other retardants discovered had so little health and safety data on them it is not possible to know their effects at this time. The same flame retardants found in some of the products are also found in children’s bodies and widely dispersed throughout the environment and in food.Read more...
Signaling their clear intention to protect families from toxic chemicals linked to serious health problems, Senators Frank Lautenberg, Barbara Boxer, Amy Klobuchar, Charles Schumer and others today introduced the “Safe Chemicals Act” to upgrade America’s outdated system for managing chemical safety. (Click "Read More" to watch video of Sen. Lautenberg talking about the bill.) The JustGreen Partnership, a collaboration of over 50 organizations representing a million New Yorkers, hailed the bill’s introduction and praised Senator Schumer for being an originating co-sponsor.Read more...
On Tuesday, April 12, the JustGreen Partnership met with policymakers in Albany, urging them to advance legislation to protect us from toxic chemicals in our daily lives. NYPIRG, WE ACT, Clean New York, the Learning Disabilities Association of NYS, Sierra Club, Environmental Advocates of NY, and Environmental Justice Action Group of Western NY met with Assemblymembers and Senators throughout the day.Read more...
In response to growing public concern over dangerous chemicals in common household products and continued Congressional inaction, on Wednesday, January 19th legislators and advocates in 30 states across the country announced plans to introduce legislation aimed at protecting children and families from harmful toxic chemicals. Despite well-funded opposition from the chemical industry, 18 state legislatures have already passed 71 chemical safety laws in the last eight years by an overwhelming, bipartisan margin – with more to come in 2011.Read more...
A new study was released today giving new meaning to the phrase “toxic assets.” On The Money: BPA on Dollar Bills and Receipts set out to investigate how widely stores use thermal receipt paper containing bisphenol A (BPA), and whether this hormone-disrupting chemical is escaping onto the money next to these receipts in people’s wallets.
Researchers found that half of the thermal paper receipts tested had large quantities of freely available BPA; 95% of the dollar bills tested positive for lower amounts. Unlike BPA in water bottles and other products, BPA on thermal paper isn’t chemically bound in any way: it’s a powdery film on the surface of receipts. Data from this report indicate that this highly toxic chemical easily transfers to our skin and likely to other items that it rubs against.Read more...
A first-ever analysis of votes on state laws aimed at protecting the public from toxic chemicals found that 18 states have passed 71 chemical safety laws in the last eight years by an overwhelming margin with broad bipartisan support. According to the report released today, of more than 9,000 votes cast by state legislators, 73% of Republicans and 99% of Democrats favored stronger protection of children’s health and the environment from dangerous chemicals, with equal support from governors of each party. The report found that the pace of state policymaking on chemicals has more than tripled in eight years.Read more... Read more...
Beware: you may be shocked to learn that toxic chemicals aren't sitting around passively - they are wreaking havoc with our health and designing a PR campaign for survival! View the funny video Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families created to galvanize public support for Congressional action and have fun with a pretty serious issue. The characters you will meet in the video are cartoons, but the plot is ripped straight from the headlines. Enjoy and please share it with your friends, co-workers and family!
The statistics are startling. Of the 80,000+ chemicals used in commerce, about 62,000 were "grandfathered in" - assumed to be safe for ongoing use - when the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was passed in 1976. Of those chemicals, only 200 have ever been fully tested for their impacts on our health and the environment. Only five chemicals have ever been banned - and none since 1990.
We now have a once in a generation opportunity to change that law. The Toxic Chemical Safety Act of 2010 was introduced in Congress. It aims to protect our families from harmful chemicals by overhauling our outdated chemical laws.
The House of Representatives is poised to act on toxic chemical legislation so your representative needs to hear from you!
We are organizing a call-in week July 19-23, to make sure our Representatives know that we want passage of a strong Toxic Chemical Safety Act. Please take a few minutes to make a call and encourage your friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members to do so as well.
This is our time to make toxic chemicals history! Let's tell Congress to vote for strong chemical policy reform. Please call your Representative during our call-in week - just follow this link for details.Read more...
After a round of last minute debate, the NYS Child Safe Products Act (S. 7070/A. 10089) passed through the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee yesterday.The bill has nine co-sponsors in the Senate and 51 co-sponsors in the Assembly. It would reduce the use of toxic chemicals in children’s products where safer alternatives are available, and provides a comprehensive framework for addressing the issue of toxic chemicals in children's products. 27 environmental health and justice groups have submitted memos supporting the legislation.Sarah Beatty, founder and President of NY City business Green Depot, gave compelling testimony before the committee.
Eating common canned foods is exposing consumers to levels of bisphenol A (BPA) equal to levels shown to cause health problems in laboratory animals, according to a new study released today by The National Work Group for Safe Markets, a coalition of public health and environmental health groups. The study, No Silver Lining, tested food from 50 cans from 19 US states and one Canadian province for BPA contamination. Over 90% of the cans tested had detectable levels of BPA, some at higher levels than have been detected in previous studies.
The canned foods tested were brand name fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, soups, tomato products, sodas, and milks, which together represent “real-life” meal options for a wide range of North American consumers. The cans were purchased from retail stores and were chosen from report participants’ pantry shelves, and sent to an independent laboratory for testing. One can of DelMonte green beans had the highest levels of BPA ever found in canned food, at 1,140 parts per billion.Read more...
Business leaders, legislative leaders, moms with young children and advocates gathered today to call upon the state legislature to pass a new law that would require safer substitutes for toxic chemicals in children’s products. They presented a wide array of products now on the market that contain chemicals linked to serious diseases and disorders, including learning disabilities, infertility, and cancer.
The proposed law would direct the Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health to develop a list of chemicals of high concern, prioritize within that list based on their use in children’s products, determine if manufacturers use those priority chemicals in products they make, and evaluate whether safer solutions are available. When safer solutions are possible, the DEC could require their use.Read more...