WE ACT and Just Green Partnership Keep Pressure on Toxic Toys Bill

For Immediate Release
January 14, 2015

NEW YORK, NY—After a late December report revealed toxic chemicals were discovered in a dozen popular children’s toys for sale in New York City, organizations in the JustGreen Partnership and their allies joined concerned parents across the city to speak at a hearing for Intro 803-A. A bill that could potentially ban the use of certain chemicals in children’s products. Organizations testifying include the American Sustainable Business Council, Center for Environmental Health, Clean and Healthy New York, League of Conservation Voters New York, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York Public Interest Group, and WE ACT for Environmental Justice.

The December report, “A Call for Toxic-Free Children’s Products: New York City” was released by Clean and Healthy New York, Center for Environmental Health and WE ACT for Environmental Justice. In it, a “dirty dozen” of children’s clothing, apparel, toys and jewelry purchased from various stores in New York City were identified.

The report found:

  • Arsenic in five products: sandals, two keychains, a lunchbox, a necklace
  • Antimony in five products: two pairs of sandals, two keychains, two necklaces, a doll, a bag
  • Cadmium in two products: a pencil case, a keychain
  • Cobalt in six products: sandals, two necklaces, overalls, a keychain, and a charm bracelet
  • Lead in eight products: sandals, a keychain, two necklaces, overalls, a lunchbox, a bag, and a charm bracelet

“With no law on the books, thousands of families across the city have unknowingly purchased an item on this list. Many of our members are parents who reside in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx, the job of taking care of a child is already hard enough, they shouldn’t have to be mom/dad and toxicologist. By passing Intro 803-A we are taking a well needed load off of their backs.” said Cecil D. Corbin-Mark, Deputy Director at WE ACT for Environmental Justice.

“There’s a worm in the Big Apple,” said Kathy Curtis, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York. “Toxic chemicals have no place in children’s products, yet time and again, our testing has found dangerous chemicals in jewelry, clothing, apparel and toys. As the State has failed to act, local governments have stepped up to protect their residents. New York City should join Albany, Westchester, Suffolk and Rockland by passing Intro 803-A. Our kids deserve nothing less.”

“Action is needed to protect the health of families in New York City,” said Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.”Toxic chemicals have no place in children’s toys, and they should not be on store shelves for sale. Parents deserve the right to know what dangers are lurking in the products they bring home. We urge the City Council to move quickly and pass this bill.”

“Parents deserve nothing less than the full assurance that the toys they buy their children won’t do them harm. Unfortunately, this report confirms our deepest fears about toxic chemicals in toys. I stand with parents and advocates across this city who demand we make it clear that toxic chemicals do not belong in children’s toys,” said Council Member Mark Levine.

“I support the JustGreen Partnership in their call for toxic free children’s products. The bottom line is toxic chemicals cause health problems. Children are easily susceptible to these toxic chemicals because as we all know, they commonly place products in their mouths.” Said Vincent J. Gentile, Council Member of Brooklyn’s 43rd district. “I hope that we in the City Council pass this legislation to protect our children’s health and to continue our progress for a clean and healthy New York.”

“Brain drain and cancer causing chemicals have no place in children’s products,” said Ansje Miller, Eastern States Director for the Center for Environmental Health. “The federal government is providing no oversight for this public health threat and our kids are being silently exposed while our government officials do nothing. By passing this important Toxic Toys law, at least we will have more confidence that New York City’s kids are protected.”

“By passing this legislation, New York City can give parents and caregivers the peace of mind that what they buy for their children to use every day will not expose them to some of the most dangerous toxic chemicals commonly used in kids’ products,” said NYPIRG Staff Attorney Rob Kornblum. “We hope the New York City Council’s actions today will inspire our State to adopt similar measures to protect our children’s health.”

Intro 803-A is a bill sponsored by Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito and co-sponsored by 32 Council Members. If passed it would ban the use of certain toxic chemicals in the use of children’s products. Similar measures have become law in Albany, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties.

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