This week, we checked in with Sarah Uhl, the coordinator for Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut. It's no surprise that the state that passed the most comprehensive bisphenol-a bill in the nation has lots of exciting toxics news to report. This legislative session, the coalition is working to protect citizens of Connecticut in several important ways.
CHILD SAFE PRODUCTS ACT
House Bill 5130 is in committee. It has passed through one committee and will have to pass through a few more before heading to the House and Senate floors. This important bill, called The Child Safe Products Act, would phase out chemicals of high concern from children's products.
The chemicals of concern would be partly determined through The Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse -- a vetted list shared among Maine, Washington and other states. This Clearinghouse is critical, as it allows states to share knowledge and fight toxic chemicals together.
Most importantly, this law would enable state agencies to take action on the most harmful chemicals, rather than waiting for the legislature to battle each chemical individually. "We're not going to solve this problem one chemical at a time," says Uhl, pointing to the efficiency of efforts like the Clearinghouse.
The Child Safe Products Act is modeled after Maine's Kids Safe Products Act, which is one of the strongest toxic chemical laws in the nation.
"We live in a world of toxicity, and we want to take a more aggressive approach to chemicals, especially those that affect children."
-Senator Ed Meyer, Senate Chairman of the Environment Committee
CHEMICAL INNOVATIONS INSTITUTE
Also proposed this year is House Bill 5126, which would establish a Chemical Innovations Institute to foster green job growth, promote safe workplaces, and reduce the use of toxic chemicals that are increasingly linked to the rising incidence of numerous chronic diseases. The institute will research chemicals of concern and safe alternatives to those chemicals, and share information with the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse.
"With increasingly stringent chemical regulations being implemented in other countries, a Chemical Innovations Institute is an economic development opportunity that can help make Connecticut a leader on green chemistry innovation and help protect workers from toxic chemicals at the same time."
- Pamela Puchalski, Connecticut Council on Occupational Safety & Health
A bill is in the state legislature that would prohibit the sale, manufacturing and distribution of children's products that contain cadmium in the state of Connecticut. Cadmium is a persistent chemical that builds up in the body. It is associated with birth defects and central nervous system damage in animals, and there is concern that children ingest cadmium by putting jewelry in their mouths which could cause health problems including kidney and bone damage.
The bill was unanimously approved by the Environment Committee and would take effect in 2014.
Meanwhile, residents of the state are keeping an eye on federal legislation and pushing for TSCA reform. Katharine Curtin recently wrote an op-ed for The Danbury News-Times asking for reform, saying "I sincerely hope that my hometown community will work together to support these critically needed reforms."
State Lawmakers pushing for ban on cadmium in products for kids. The Day, 03/13/10.