As part of its Earth Day legislative package, the New York State Assembly announced early this month that it has overwhelmingly passed the Child Safe Products Act (A5612-A), legislation that has been supported by a majority of legislators in both the Assembly and Senate for several years, but which has not passed the Senate. The bill amends the Environmental Conservation Law to better regulate use of toxic chemicals in children’s products by establishing an infrastructure within state government to categorize chemicals of concern (based on the likelihood for children’s exposure) and requiring disclosure by children’s product manufacturers as to whether their products contain chemicals of concern. It would phase out children’s products made with certain priority chemicals starting January 1, 2018. This legislation also enables the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to have the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse collect, manage, and publish the data collected from manufacturers.
In 2015, a nearly identical bill stalled in a Senate committee despite cosponsorship by 40 senators – 63% of the Senate.
Additionally, the Assembly passed other public and environmental health measures:
- A5844: reduces toxic mercury found in light bulbs;
- A3063: requires the state to incorporate environmental justice into planning and permitting practices due to communities of color and low-income communities bearing a disproportionate burden of health hazards; and
- A3382: creates a localized tracking tool on how communities are impacted by environmental and health hazards to inform fairer planning and permitting practices.
“After four years, there can’t be any more excuses,” said Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York. “The Child Safe Products Act should become law this year. It has the overwhelming support of Assemblymembers and Senators, and Governor Cuomo called for its passage earlier this year. Republicans and Democrats representing rural, urban, and suburban regions all agree that not allowing toxics like arsenic, mercury and lead in children’s products makes sense. We thank the Assembly for once again leading the charge and urge the Senate to focus on doing what’s right for children and families.”
All four Earth Day bills now await a vote by the state Senate.