There has been a lot of toxics news coming from the states lately. The Safer States organizations have been doing an amazing job of protecting their state's citizens through legislation restricting toxic chemicals. Moreover, elected officials have been hearing the message from their voters: we deserve to be protected from toxic chemicals in our lives.
Here's what's happening, state by state:
This year's legislative calendar included a ban on Deca-BDE in mattresses and electronics. The bill ultimately failed, but the momentum for the bill was encouraging.
The California State Senate has approved a ban on Bisphenol-A (BPA) in baby bottles, sippy cups and food containers. It will now move to the State Assembly. The bill faces strong opposition by the US chemical industry. This bill has been in the California legislature for over a year and was introduced by Senator Fran Pavley.
“Every day, children nationwide are being fed a chemical that alters brain and behavioral function in ways we still don’t fully understand. This mass chemical experiment on our children’s bodies must stop.”
Senator Pavley is also the sponsor of a bill to ban the dangerous metal cadmium from children's jewelry. This bill has passed the State Senate and is headed toward the Assembly. 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.
A cadmium ban has passed in Connecticut! Upon signing the bill, Governor Rell said “I want to keep Connecticut at the forefront of chemical policy reforms. This law builds on our successes in phasing out toxic chemicals from children’s products – products like lead and Bisphenol-A."
Our colleagues at Environment Illinois are working hard to support the passage of a BPA ban and a cadmium ban in Illinois. Illinois residents can ensure passage of the BPA ban in children's food containers by taking action and emailing your legislator.
Today, the Governor of Maine is signing a law called the Toxics Use Reduction Program. This bill will modernize the 20-year old Toxics Use Reduction Program, and will help to protect Maine's citizens froom the worst-of-the-worst chemicals. It will prioritize chemicals of high concern and will move toward planning and goal-setting to reduce the use of those chemicals.
In addition to the passage of their new BPA law, the state of Maryland has passed a law against the harmful chemical Deca-BDE from many consumer applications. Passage of the Deca Bill means that children will be protected from this toxic flame retardant, as well as firefighters who are exposed to the toxic gases while on the job.
Advocates in Massachusetts are focused on strengthening the BPA regulation that is pending in the Massachusetts Public Health Council.
On June 24 & 25, supporters of the PVC-Free schools campaign will be gathering in Detroit to rally at the US Social Forum. If you're attending the forum, please stop by Hart Plaza to meet Betty the Besafe Ducky!
An Omnibus Workforce Development Bill was recently passed in Minnesota which includes a prohibition on cadmium. As you can see, state by state citizens are being protected from this toxic metal. The same law also contains a definition of "green chemistry." We first mentioned this in a post in February. Basically, it means that economic incentives can now be created around green chemistry. It sets the state up for an entire push toward developing products with the least amount of hazardous substances and energy consumption during the development process.
In addition to their hard work on the Child Safe Products Act, advocates in New York have been hard at work on other laws. A law has been passed which prohibits the use of pesticides on school and daycare playgrounds, turf, athletic and playing fields.
Oregon's attempt to ban BPA this year failed with a vote of 15 to 15 in the State Senate. Even though the bill didn't pass, it marked great work by a strong cadre of coalition partners who will be ready to fight for BPA another day.
Vermont's BPA bill has been signed. It bans the manufacture, sale or distribution of canned infant formula, bottled infant formula, plastic baby containers, and reusable food and beverage containers containing BPA.
Washington's BPA bill has been signed, which wraps up this update on a positive note. The bill bans bisphenol-A from baby bottles, sippy cups, children's dish ware and sports bottles.