Onward! BPA, DecaBDE and E-waste bills pass NY Assembly
Tuesday, May 5th was Earth Day Lobby Day, and the New York State Assembly passed all 12 environmental bills in their Earth Day package.
New York's BPA bill (Assembly Bill 6919b) passed 133 - 12, the E-waste bill (A. 7571) passed 121 - 22, and the exciting story of the day was the decaBDE victory. The bill (A. 7573) passed 141 - 2, after weeks of intense negative lobbying by the bromine industry.
They generated a number of opposition memos. Assemblyman Joseph Saladino challenged the sponsor during debate by raising all of the industry arguments.
In response, Assemblyman Robert Sweeney, the deca bill sponsor, was - as expected - a powerful and articulate champion for the bill.
He blocked the industry message knowledgeably and effectively at every turn, explaining results from other state government studies (pdf), and reading the list of bill supporters (pdf) and companies (pdf) that no longer use deca. His effort to explain known health effects and the widespread use of safer alternatives was crucial to the bill’s passage. Industry worked to get as many 'no' votes as possible, but only managed to secure two (only Assemblyman Mark Schroeder joined Assemblyman Saladino).
Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples, an environmental health and justice champion, thanked the sponsor for introducing the bill, and noted that after all the learning disabilities and other harm to the developing brain caused by the severe lead poisoning problem in her Buffalo-area district, the last thing we needed was to expose these developing brains to toxic flame retardants.
“Environmental toxins are the largest preventable cause of learning disabilities. Banning DecaBDE is an important step forward," said Stephen Boese, Executive Director of the Learning Disabilities Association of NYS. "This also really underscores the need to have a comprehensive chemical policy to protect children as well as adults from all health hazards caused by thousands of chemicals."
"I’m looking forward to seeing this bill pass the Senate and signed by the Governor, but also in seeing this serve as our wake-up call that it is time to protect New Yorkers from all chemical health hazards,” Boese added.
With seven weeks left in legislative session, the focus for passage of these bills now turns to the Senate, where Senator Adams carries a similar bill, S. 177. We can expect for the bromine industry, and its front group "Citizens For Fire Safety," to continue their pressure to keep this dangerous, unnecessary chemical from being phased out.file:///C:/Users/Kathryn%20Kelly/AppData/Roaming/Microsoft/Internet%20Explorer/Quick%20Launch/Shows%20Desktop.lnk
Stay tuned for more information about their methods as we work to protect New York's children from chemicals that damage the developing brain.