Moms Demand Action to Protect Kids from Toxic Chemicals

As Assembly Passes Child Safe Products Act, Moms Call Upon Senate to End Delay

(Albany) In what has become an annual Mother’s Day tradition, moms from Moms for a Non-Toxic New York came to the Capitol on Wednesday to call for passage of bills that would protect children from toxic chemicals. Their message: children’s products and their environment should be free from toxic chemicals to help them grow up healthy and reach their full potential. Diseases like cancer, diabetes, asthma, learning disabilities and infertility have chemical triggers that can and should be avoided.


This year, the event coincided with the NYS Assembly’s Earth Day program, which included passage of the Child Safe Products Act (A. 5612a), sponsored by Assembly member Steve Englebright.  Moms and other advocates applauded the Assembly’s action, and called on the Senate and Governor to protect children from toxic dangers without further delay.


Moms and their children met in the morning to discuss a variety of issues important to safeguarding children from hazardous chemicals, and then headed off to meet with key decision makers.  They took with them “rubber ducky” cookies to deliver. The rubber ducky has been a symbol of the campaign because the iconic toy is usually made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which has contained chemicals of concern, and is made from a carcinogen (vinyl chloride).


In the past year, four counties where over three million New Yorkers reside (Albany, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester) have passed strong laws protecting children from toxic chemicals in products. This large population base is greater than 20 U.S. states. Several other locations, including New York City and Ulster and Dutchess Counties, are considering similar measures.


“I was horrified to find out that I have toxic chemicals in my body and that studies show babies are being born with hundreds of toxic chemicals already present in their bodies. My job is to protect my kids but I can't do it alone. I and all moms need the Child Safe Products Act. We shouldn't have to try and police our kids’ toxicity alone.” said Penelope Jaggesar-Chaffer, Director/Producer/Writer of the film Toxic Baby™ and mother of two children.


"In the absence of federal regulation, I am relying on NY State to do the right thing and help protect our children from unregulated toxic chemicals in consumer products. NY State needs to follow in the footsteps of Washington and Maine and not wait for the federal government to update our ineffective and outdated legislation on toxic chemicals.   Our children are not guinea pigs. Their safety and health is paramount. I rely on my state and federal government to keep them safe with appropriate legislation. We can't rely on companies in an unregulated marketplace to do the right thing," said Anna Grossman, mother of two, from New York City


“I welcome moms to the Capitol today to speak out for their children’s health,” said Senator Phil Boyle (R-Brentwood Bay Shore), sponsor of the Child Safe Products Act. “After years of bipartisan support, 2016 is the year we achieve real protections for children from toxic chemicals, something Republicans and Democrats alike can agree upon. Moms are fierce in protecting their kids and have a powerful voice that should be heard.”


“Children are more sensitive to and are at an increased risk from chemical exposure. Currently New York prohibits the use of dangerous chemicals on a chemical-by-chemical basis.  We must act to protect children's health from unnecessary toxic chemicals found in children’s products.  It’s time to put our children first and address these serious health concerns.   I urge the Senate to follow the Assembly's lead on this issue", said Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Chair, New York State Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation.


“Last year, I led the charge to pass Suffolk County’s Toxin Free Toy’s Act in conjunction with partners like Clean and Healthy New York,” said Suffolk County Majority Leader Kara Hahn. Hahn went on to say, “I applaud Assemblyman Englebright, my legislative partner in the State Assembly for pushing legislation (the Child Safe Products Act, A. 5612a) that will protect children from the dangers posed by toxic chemicals in children’s products all across New York State.”


“The Westchester County Children’s Product Safety Act was enacted with wide bipartisan support.  As someone who has been working on this concept for many Mothers’ Days, in several capacities, it is truly offensive that a bill to protect children from harmful chemicals could be stalled at the request of the chemical industry but not passed at the urging of families throughout New York.  This is another example of the Senate's leadership caving to a powerful special interest group instead of protecting the Children of New York State.  I urge the Senate to take this bill up to protect New York’s Children,” said Catherine Borgia, Majority Leader of the Westchester County Legislature and sponsor of the local Toxic-Free Children’s Act.


“It’s time New York joined the growing list of states and major corporations by adopting a chemical policy that protects kids from toxic chemicals in products they use every day,” said Kathy Curtis, LPN, mother of four and executive director of Clean and Healthy New York. “Not only will we have healthier kids as a result, but we’ll also protect natural resources, reduce health care costs, and inspire greater confidence in consumers, especially parents and caregivers,” Curtis added.


NYPIRG Legislative Counsel Russ Haven said:  "Once again the Assembly is leading by passing legislation to protect children from toxic chemical exposures.  After more than a half decade of debate over this bill, the question is why is the Senate once again missing in action?  The Senate has more than enough sponsors to pass a bill.  With the governor engaging fully in this effort, 2016 can be the year to lead the nation in protecting children's health."


Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said: “This legislation is critical to halting the revolving door of toxic chemicals that go into our children’s products.  We commend Assemblyman Englebright for his leadership to pass this commonsense legislation and congratulate the Assembly for making the protection of children’s health a top priority. With overwhelming support for the bill in the Senate, there is no excuse for inaction. Children, parents, and all New Yorkers are now counting on the Senate to get this done once and for all.”


Grandmother, breast cancer survivor and director of Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, Inc., Karen Miller, summed it up eloquently: "To the Senate leadership, Please...take our call. We must get the Child Safe Products Act to the floor and passed. So many families depend on your leadership to keep our kids and grand babies safe."


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