New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed the Child Safe Products Act into law today.
The Act ensures that children and their parents across New York State no longer have to worry about not knowing what toxic chemicals their children may be exposed to toxic and gives the state the authority to ban the most dangerous chemicals, like carcinogens, neurotoxins in toys and other children’s products.
“Once again our Governor has demonstrated his leadership in the fight against toxic chemicals, and we thank him for that,” said Cecil Corbin-Mark, Deputy Director and Director of Policy Initiatives at Harlem’s WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “We have been working for more than a decade to achieve this, alongside Clean and Healthy New York, our co-leaders of the JustGreen Partnership. Governor Cuomo decided today to be the bearer of early Valentine’s Day gifts to all of New York’s children and their parents by signing the strongest law in the nation to protect children from harmful toxic chemicals. The law does a few basic things:
It calls on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to establish two lists of toxic chemicals – a disclosure list, requiring manufacturers to disclose any chemicals on this list; and a ban list, which manufacturers are not allowed to use in their products – for all children’s products offered for sale in New York State. The disclosure list includes known asthmagens, chemicals that can trigger asthma, which is particularly important in low-income communities and communities of color where asthma has become an epidemic. And manufacturers are also required to alert retailers to the presence of the chemicals on that disclosure list.
- This is the first time that parents will have access to this information because the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will be required to post on their website what product manufacturers are reporting so that they can be better informed about the purchases they make for their children.
- The bill allows the State to continue to add and subtract chemicals from these lists based on credible, verifiable, scientific information in perpetuity, which is what makes it the best in the nation.
- The bill will ultimately phase out the use of the most dangerous chemicals in products manufactured for children by January 1, 2023.
In addition to the Governor and our partners, we want to thank Senator Todd Kaminsky of the 9th New York State Senate district on Long Island’s South Shore and the chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, Assemblyman Steve Englebright of the 4th New York State Assembly district on Long Island and chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, and New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for their sponsorship of this critical legislation and leadership in the fight to rid our environment of toxic chemicals.
“One of the many things that we were responsible for was making sure that the law would require children’s products manufacturers to disclose if their products contained chemicals that trigger asthma, known as asthmagens,” noted Corbin-Mark. “Asthma is an epidemic in many low-income communities and communities of color, where parents cannot afford to buy their way out of the problem of toxic toys and other toxic children’s products.”
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Through the JustGreen Partnership, WE ACT and Clean and Healthy New York are continuing to work with New York State legislators to address the prevalence of toxic chemicals in other products. And WE ACT has identified a number of specific issues it will focus on as part of its current State Policy Agenda, including banning the use of mercury in skin lightening creams, reducing childhood lead poisoning, and strengthening laws to prohibit the use of phthalates in children’s products and PFAS in food packaging.
Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Chair, New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation: “Children are more sensitive to and are at increased risk from chemical exposure. The passage of this legislation is an important step to protect children from unnecessary health risks caused by dangerous chemicals found in children’s products. As the Assembly has passed this legislation for many years, I am delighted that this work has finally resulted in a new law to protect New York’s children.”
Senator Todd Kaminsky, Chair, New York State Senate Environmental Conservation Committee: “There are countless toys on the market that pose a serious health risk to children and need to be regulated,” Senator Kaminsky said. “This bill will dramatically reduce that risk and allow parents to make informed decisions when shopping for their kids. I’m proud to sponsor this bill and I thank the Governor for this critical support.”
WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York City and Washington, D.C. Visit us at weact.org