On May 5th, 2015, Moms from across New York State occupied the Million dollar steps on Capital Hill to send a message to the New York State Senate and lobby for the Child Safe Products act (S.4102). This was one of the many actions that took place during the Mama summit, organized by partnering environmental advocates including; Moms Clean Air Force, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and the Just Green Partnership.
The summit was a chance for Moms, Dads, Grandparents, and kids from across the state to show broad and united support for children’s health. During the summit, the participants demanded action on the Child Safe Products Act as well as the overall air quality for all children.
The summit featured a training on issue lobbying, a breakdown of the Child Safe products Act, and was finished off with an opportunity for participants to speak to their representatives in order to build support for a final passage of the bill. Currently, the Child Safe products act has already passed in the Assembly with bipartisan support, but is awaiting a vote in the Senate.
Members were able to meet with representatives for Senators, Marty Golden, Jeffrey Klein, Timothy Murphy, Dean Skelos, and Brad Hoylman. They took turns expressing the importance of passing the bill, sharing personal stories, and connecting the issue to their children. WE ACT member, Rita Miller, talked about her grandchildren and the concern she has for their safety with the toys they play with, saying:
My grandchildren love to pay with their toys, and I literally don't know if there might be dangerous chemicals in them. What am I supposed to do if they get sick? We have to think of how the chemicals might interfere with the health and intellect of our children. You shouldn't have to be an expert in chemical research to know whether the products you purchase for your kids are safe.
Brooklyn resident and fellow participant Wendy Kim talked about her daughter Sophia's habit of putting toys in her mouth and learning about the world through touch and taste:
Sophia, is still so young and one of the ways that she learns to process things is by directly engaging with them. I can't tell you the amount of times I found her with with a toy in her mouth. What if that toy contains led? I don't want her to get sick from doing something that all children do. She is my future, all of our children are our future and we have to do whatever it takes to protect them.
The Child Safe Products Act is a bill that would accomplish the following:
- Identify chemicals of high concern
- Create a priority list of chemicals of high concern found in children's products, and require that safer alternatives be used.
- Require manufacturers to disclose the use of these priority chemicals in children's products, and alert retailers to their presence.
- Phase out the most dangerous chemicals in children's products.
These chemicals include, benzene, formaldehyde, lead, mercury, antimony, arsenic, cadmium and cobalt.
For additional information, contact Stanley Fritz at 212-961-1000 ext. 320
West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc. (WE ACT for Environmental Justice) is a Northern Manhattan community-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by assuring that people of color and/or low-income participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. Follow us on Facebook, and Twitter