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New York State Poised to Protect Kids & Environment through Child Safe Products Act

With a few short days of session left, New York State is poised join states around the country protecting children from toxic chemicals. The Child Safe Products Act would require manufacturers to let us know when dangerous chemicals show up in kids’ products, so consumers can make safe, informed choices. And it would phase out some of the worst-of-the-worst chemicals — which, for example, means New Yorkers won’t have to worry that the lunchbox they purchase has lead in it. While this is a law for New York, it can have ripple effects throughout the nation, as manufacturers reformulate their product lines to comply with these clear, common sense safety standards.

Not surprisingly, this bill is seeing widespread support. Fifty-five organizations support the Child Safe Products Act, including environmental, public health, healthcare provider, children’s advocacy, labor, civil right and community-based organizations — as well as businesses, such as Seventh Generation and the American Sustainable Business Council. But they face the American Chemistry Council and their money. According to recent media reports, they have spent tens of thousands of dollars to fight policies like these.

But the truth is that safer chemicals and a strong economy can — and do — go hand in hand. “It is a mistake to pit all businesses against environmental and health concerns, with the assumption being that caring about our communities is contrary to being profitable,” said Laura Niederhofer, of the New York State Sustainable Business Council. “Leading companies are highly motivated to identify and use safer alternatives to toxic chemicals. The Child Safe Products Act enables New York State to become more competitive, innovative, and economically sustainable. It is time for Senator Skelos and Senator Klein to bring it to the floor for a vote.”

Niederhofer and others are speaking up because they want to see this bill passed in the final few days of the busy New York state session. The Assembly has already passed it (with overwhelming support), and it has 40 co-sponsors in the Senate, with broad bipartisan support. But as we know in politics, support from the community and the legislature isn’t always enough. New York need the votes.

“The bill will empower parents to choose safer products, and send a powerful market signal for product developers to fully consider toxicity in materials selection,” said Kathy Curtis, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York and co-leader of the JustGreen Partnership. “It’s common sense. Few if any bills enjoy this much support in the Senate. It’s time for a vote. Period.”

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