Unbelievably, hundreds of known toxic chemicals are used to make children’s products without restriction or even basic reporting that would allow parents to make informed decisions about the items they purchase for their family.
This legislation protects children from avoidable illness and toxic exposure by allowing the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to regulate, and in cases of significant public health concern ban the use of some dangerous chemicals in children’s products.
Children are more susceptible to the harmful effects of smaller amounts of chemicals than adults, due to their developing systems. Leukemia, brain cancer, and other childhood cancers have increased by more than 20% since 1975, according to a 2011 report released by the Environmental Protection Agency, America’s Children and the Environment: Measures of contaminants, body burdens, and illness. A 2005 study of industrial chemicals conducted by a non-profit research based organization, the Environmental Working Group, detected 287 chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood, 180 of which cause cancer, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests.
This bill provides a common sense approach to the practice of getting toxic chemicals out of children’s products. Currently New York legislates chemical policy on a chemical-by-chemical basis – a cumbersome and ineffective way to address this public health threat. Several states, including Connecticut, Maine, and Washington, have adopted similar policies.
This bill amends the Environmental Conservation Law to better regulate use of toxic chemicals in children’s products. It establishes an infrastructure within state government to categorize chemicals of concern (based on the likelihood for children’s exposure) and requires disclosure by children’s product manufacturers as to whether their products contain chemicals of concern. It will phase out the sale of children’s products made with certain priority chemicals starting January 1, 2020. This legislation also enables the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to have the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse collect, manage, and publish the data collected from manufacturers.