Majority of NYS Senators Now Co-Sponsor Child Safe Products Act
Swift Floor Consideration by Majority Coalition Leaders Urged
(Albany) With four days remaining in the 2013 legislative session, children are one step closer to seeing toxic chemicals disclosed to their parents and removed from their products. On Thursday, June 13th, Senator Squadron became the 32nd Senator to co-sponsor the Child Safe Products Act (S.4614). Therefore, a majority of the Senate officially backs the measure, aimed at safeguarding children’s health through stricter regulation of toxic chemicals.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Phil Boyle (R, Bay Shore) comprehensively addresses chemicals in children’s products. "I am pleased that a majority of my colleagues agree that we need stricter regulations to ensure that our children’s products are free of dangerous toxic chemicals," Senator Phil Boyle said. "The bottom line is that parents should be able to purchase products for their babies in New York State and be assured that they are safe."
Matching legislation, introduced by Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Robert Sweeney, passed the Assembly 111-30 in April, by a wider margin and with broader bipartisan support than its passage in that house last year.
Children are more vulnerable to the impacts of chemicals, which can cause changes in their developing bodies that have lifelong consequences. Chemicals covered under the Child Safe Products Act include those that can cause cancer, learning and developmental disabilities, asthma, obesity, and infertility. Recent data collected by Washington State revealed over 5,000 types of children’s products contain toxic chemicals, including heavy metals like cadmium, mercury, arsenic, and cobalt. Shocking findings include revelations of arsenic in children’s underwear and cobalt in pacifiers.
The JustGreen Partnership, a broad, diverse coalition that includes cancer and learning disabilities prevention advocates, environmental justice leaders, businesses, teachers, health care providers, labor, environmental conservation and environmental health groups, cheered the news that more than half the Senate is co-sponsoring the bill.
"With the support of the New York State Senate, the Child Safe Products Act is headed for a home run. When this bill passes we can all breathe a sigh of relief that children and future generations will be exposed to less toxins, yielding a reduced risk to chronic diseases such as breast cancer," said Laura Weinberg, President of Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition.
"Protecting our children is paramount...and with the passage of this important legislation we will also witness a decrease in breast cancer incidence later on in life," said Karen Joy Miller, founder and President of Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition.
“As a parent and environmental health advocate, I applaud the majority of Senators who now back Senator Boyle’s bill to protect children,” said Kathleen A. Curtis, LPN, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York, co-leader of the JustGreen Partnership, and mother of four. “Now it is up to the Senate leadership – Senators Skelos and Klein. Do they have the will to bring the Child Safe Products Act to the floor this week? New York’s children are counting on them.”
“Every parent in the state will sleep better at night once the Senate passes this common-sense legislation to keep kids safe,” said Saima Anjam, Government Affairs Associate at Environmental Advocates of New York. “There is broad, bipartisan support for the Child Safe Products Act thanks to the leadership of Senators Phil Boyle, Diane Savino, Ken LaValle, and others. If given a vote, we have no doubt this bill will pass unanimously. And we urge Senators Klein and Skelos to bring it to the floor next week so we can celebrate their commitment to safe kids!”
"Senators from around New York have demonstrated that they want toxins out of our children's products," said Caitlin Pixley of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. "With 32 co-sponsors from the Republican, Democratic, and Independent Democratic Conferences, the Child Safe Products Act (S.4614) deserves a Senate floor vote. By phasing out the use of chemicals such as arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and lead, we are providing our children with a safer, toxic-free future including clean air, water, and natural places. The Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter applauds the co-sponsors of S.4614 and urges Senators Skelos and Klein to bring this bill through the Rules committee for a floor vote."
“Low income communities and communities of color across New York are lucky to have leaders like Senator Boyle and Assemblyman Sweeney, and their colleagues who have co-sponsored the bill,” said Cecil Corbin-Mark, Deputy Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice and co-leader of the Just Green Partnership. “The Child Safe Products Act that they introduced will put an end to toxic toys on the shelves of 99 cents stores in our neighborhoods.”
"The Child Safe Products Act addresses many of the top chemicals known to cause learning and developmental disabilities, such as autism, which impacts one out of every 88 children. Our message is simple; we need to get toxic chemicals out of our everyday consumer products to protect the next generations of children,” said Stephen Boese, Executive Director of the Learning Disabilities Association of New York State. “We thank Senator Boyle for his leadership on this issue and the Senators who have co-sponsored the bill. We urge Senate leaders to do the right thing and bring the Child Safe Products Act to the floor for a vote."
The Child Safe Products Act establishes a list of chemicals of concern (starting with approximately 1,700 chemicals on existing authoritative government lists); prioritizes heavy metals like lead, cadmium, mercury, cobalt, and arsenic, along with chlorinated tris and benzene, and enables the Departments of Environment Conservation and Health to add or remove chemicals from either list. A year after a chemical is named a priority, manufacturers must disclose its use in products for children aged 12 and under, and a year after disclosure, starting in 2018, must phase them out. The bill authorizes the DEC to work through the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse for data collection, to streamline the process for manufacturers and reduce costs for each participating state.