Advocates in the state of New York are looking to protect children from toxic chemical contamination by passing a comprehensive bill which would identify chemicals of concern and keep them out of children's products.
The bill would promote safer alternatives to priority chemicals. According to Safer State organization Just Green, the bill "provides a comprehensive framework for addressing the issue of toxic chemicals in children's products."
Children are a population that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals. Chemicals like Bisphenol-A (BPA) can affect brain development, and have been shown to have behavioral impacts in small children.
Chemicals like PCBs, DDT and BPA are considered to be endocrine disruptors—synthetic chemicals which can block hormones and disrupt normal body function, which can affect development in small children.
The NY Child Safe Products Act has passed through the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee in both houses, and must pass through a couple of additional committees before a floor vote. There is bi-partisan support for the bill with 52 of 150 Assemblymembers and 12 of 62 Senators signing on as co-sponsors.
The New York bill would follow in the footsteps of a couple of protective laws that have been passed in other states. The "Kids-Safe Products Act" in Maine is one of the strongest toxic chemical laws in the nation. Passed in 2008, the Maine law requires that the state adopt a list of priority chemicals which are harmful to children, and manufacturers disclose those chemicals and move toward safer alternatives. That same year, Washington state passed a nearly identical law which identified lead, cadmium and phthalates as chemicals of concern and banned them from children's products.