(Albany, New York - December 23, 2019) - Families, children, and advocates gathered at the State Christmas Tree at the Capitol to urge Governor Cuomo to sign the Child Safe Products Act. Singing “Child Safe Carols” such as “All We Want for Christmas* is the Child Safe Products Act” and “I’m Dreaming of a Healthy Childhood,” those gathered sought to remind the Governor how important the bill is to New York families.
One of the children in the crowd, Maddie Wilding, said, “I started coming to the Capitol with my mom when I was just a baby to inspire legislators to protect kids like me. Now I’m in fourth grade. Will babies born today have to go through their childhoods with toxic toys? The Governor can prevent that by acting now.
“The fact is, families shouldn’t have to worry and wonder whether the gifts they’re giving this holiday season come with hidden hazards. With the stroke of his pen, Governor Cuomo can give families information they need about a wide range of potential harms, and ensure the worst chemicals – like the proven carcinogens formaldehyde and asbestos – aren’t in the products given to children, at the holidays or any time of the year,” said Kathleen Curtis, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York. “This holiday season, Governor Cuomo can give New York families a huge gift by signing the Child Safe Products Act into law,” Curtis added.
“Children are exquisitely vulnerable to harmful chemicals in their environment, and the health consequences from repeated exposures to even low levels of these chemicals can last lifelong. Parents and family members shouldn’t have to worry that the pretty sweater, charming sippy cup, adorable toddler chair, or popular action figure that they want to give their child for Christmas contains toxic chemicals that could present hidden hazards,” said Dr. Philip Landrigan, Director of the Program in Global Public Health and the Common Good at Boston College. “With the stroke of his pen, Governor Cuomo can sign the Child Safe Products Act and protect children’s health against dangerous chemicals in toys,” Landrigan added.
The Child Safe Products Act passed both houses earlier in 2019 with broad bipartisan support. It does three things:
It requires manufacturers to report the presence of over 100 chemicals of concern in products made for children, including clothes, toys, gear, and jewelry.
It would ban the sale of products containing the worst chemicals, including asbestos, benzene, formaldehyde and mercury.
It authorizes the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to add chemicals to the list for reporting as more is known and understood about their impact, and to move chemicals from reporting to restriction, as needed to protect children’s health.
"Phasing out harmful and unnecessary toxic chemicals in children’s products will have a lasting effect on both the health of New York’s children and the environment," said Caitlin Ferrante, Conservation & Development Program Manager for the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. "We are urging Governor Cuomo to sign the Child Safe Products Act into law today and further build upon his environmental legacy. The chemicals found in children's products have a way of eventually finding their way into the environment, be it through the air, water, or when these products eventually end up in the landfill. The Sierra Club asks the Governor to take this much needed action to ensure New Yorkers are one step closer to a toxic-free future."
"The dangers that come with unregulated chemicals being used in products and manufacturing processes can be seen but a mere half-hour from Albany in Hoosick Falls,” said Liz Moran, Environmental Policy Director for NYPIRG. “When toxic chemicals are used in products, they not only end up in homes and in the hands of children, but also in drinking water. The Child Safe Products Act is critical legislation that would ensure some of these dangerous chemicals don't end up in the products designed for infants and children. The Governor should not hesitate to sign this game-changing legislation into law."
"What could be a better holiday gift this year than the Governor signing the Child Safe Products Act, to finally address toxic chemicals in child's products, toys, and clothing,” said Kate Kurera, Deputy Director of Environmental Advocates of New York. “It is extraordinary that such toxic chemicals exist in children's products in the first place and outrageous consumers aren't made aware of what they may be potentially exposing their loved ones too. This is perhaps the most common-sense legislation that has passed over the Governor's desk."
Earlier this month, the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse, a multi-state association of which New York is a leading member, launched a data system to collect information about chemicals in children’s products for multiple states, starting with Washington and Oregon, which both already require reporting. The new data system streamlines reporting for companies, saving them time and money, reduces costs for each participating state by eliminating redundant database development and maintenance, and increases public awareness by sharing information across state reporting systems. New York State can leverage this system to implement the Child Safe Products Act quickly and cost-effectively.
Clean and Healthy New York works for safer chemicals, a sustainable economy, and a healthier world. It co-leads the JustGreen Partnership, over 50 organizations working for environmental health and justice for New York’s people and communities, and leads the national Getting Ready for Baby campaign working to ensure all baby and children’s products are free of harmful chemicals.
The JustGreen Partnership is a coalition of about 50 groups representing nearly a million New Yorkers, all working together for environmental health and justice for New York’s people and communities. The Partnership focuses on transforming the policies that govern how chemicals are regulated or marketed in the great State of New York. Through our work, we are building a better movement for health and environmental justice in New York State.