Governor Cuomo's 2019 State of the State Address Calls for Labeling of Toxics

Advocates applaud Governor Cuomo’s Proposal to Protect New Yorkers from Unknown Exposure to Toxic Chemicals in 2019 State of the State

(Albany, NY – January 15, 2019) Clean and Healthy New York, New York’s premier environmental health advocacy organization, was pleased to note Governor Cuomo’s ongoing commitment to ensuring all New Yorkers are aware of and protected from toxic chemicals in their homes, schools, and workplaces, reflected today in his state of the state presentation announcing new consumer right to know laws, and in more detail in the State of the State book.

“We applaud Governor Cuomo’s clear commitment to protecting people from toxic chemicals in products they use every day, and his advancement of their right to know what is in the products they buy and use,” said Kathleen Curtis, LPN, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York. “We need this kind of leadership from New York State. It will help people act in the best interest of their family and the environment, and push companies to choose safer materials because they know the world is watching.” 

The Governor’s 2019 State of the State book states the following (p.296):

Proposal: Protect New Yorkers from Unknown Exposure to Toxic Chemicals 

 

Governor Cuomo has been steadfast in his commitment to protecting New Yorkers from unknown exposure to harmful substances. Under his leadership, New York State has made unprecedented investments in clean water, prevented the use of harmful flame retardant chemicals in child care products, and required the disclosure of hazardous chemicals in household cleaning products.

Despite these strong efforts, New Yorkers are still regularly exposed to potentially harmful chemicals in the products they use every day, often without their knowledge. Products ranging from toothpaste to floor polish frequently contain known carcinogens or endocrine disruptors, yet their manufacturers have no obligation to disclose that information to New York consumers. Even with broad online disclosure required for certain product categories, consumers are often unaware of the availability of such information, reducing their ability to determine for themselves which chemicals their families are exposed to. As federal standards continue to weaken, it is all the more important that New York State protect its residents.

To further protect New Yorkers from potentially harmful chemicals, Governor Cuomo will introduce legislation authorizing and directing the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Department of Health and the Department of State to develop an on-package labeling requirement for designated products, indicating the presence of potentially hazardous chemicals. New legislation will authorize DEC, DOH, and DOS to develop regulations outlining the parameters of the new labeling requirement, including the more than 1,000 carcinogens and other chemicals that will trigger labeling and the types of consumer products that will be subject to the new regime. DEC, DOH, and DOS will consider a suite of potentially hazardous chemicals, including chemicals considered carcinogens or that carry material reproductive risks, and will evaluate the feasibility of requiring labeling for cleaning products, personal care products, toys, cosmetics, and other consumer products. In consultation with experts and advocates, DEC, DOH, and DOS will develop a science-based approach to keep New Yorkers aware of the risks associated with commonly used products.

In addition, the legislation will extend the previously established household cleaning product disclosure requirements to cover all cleaning products sold in New York State, and it will give DOH the authority to require similar disclosure for the manufacturers of personal care products like shampoo, deodorant, or baby powder. Under these requirements, cleaning product and personal care product manufacturers must make certain product ingredient information publicly available on their websites and on a publicly accessible database currently being developed in cooperation with the Interstate Chemical Clearinghouse. 

Governor Cuomo will further direct DEC, DOH, and DOS to study potential expansion of the disclosure and labeling requirements to other product areas and to explore additional potential measures to empower consumers with more information. 

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