New York Assembly passes children’s products bill

New York’s Assembly has passed a bill aimed at regulating substances of concern in children’s products, through reporting requirements, substance bans and retail signage. The “Child Safe Products Act” (AB 5612) passed the Assembly by a 112-29 margin, and now moves to the Senate. The bill says the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) should establish lists of priority chemicals and chemicals of high concern. Requirements for products, containing the substances, would include:

  • reporting their presence, along with additional data, to the DEC, with the information to be made available on the agency’s website;
  • a Prop 65-style requirement for retailers to “conspicuously post notice to consumers, identifying such products and the priority chemicals they contain”; and
  • a sales ban on covered products containing them from 1 January 2019.

The measure would extend to toys, baby products, children’s personal care products, and other items intended for children. Ten priority substances are named in the bill:

 

  • tris (1, 3 dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate;
  • benzene;
  • lead;
  • mercury;
  • antimony;
  • formaldehyde;
  • asbestos;
  • arsenic;
  • cadmium; and
  • cobalt.

There are approaching 70 substances named in the list of chemicals of high concern, which is based on Washington’s Chemicals of High Concern to Children (CHCC) list. The bill would also instruct the DEC to conduct periodic reviews of its chemical lists and, by regulation, add or remove substances from them. Criteria, such as whether a substance found in children’s products is present in humans, based on biomonitoring studies, or if a substance or children’s products containing a substance has been banned in other states, are named as considerations. NGO Environmental Advocates of New York (EANY) says it “strongly supports” the measure, and that it offers a “common sense approach to the practice of getting toxic chemicals out of children’s products”. But Owen Caine, director of state affairs at the Toy Industry Association (TIA), said some aspects of the bill are “very concerning” and they oppose it. The TIA is “firmly in the position” that regulation of substances be handled at the federal level, he said.  A patchwork of state laws creates an “enormous regulatory burden” on all industries, he added, and ends up increasing costs in order to impose regulations that “quite frankly, the federal government is better at doing”. The association remains supportive of reform to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) as a potential curb to state-level regulation of substances, according to Mr Caine. And while the extent to which a reformed TSCA would preempt a state’s ability to impose reporting requirements remains unclear, Mr Caine says the association hopes that a modernised federal policy would reassure the concerned individuals, who are currently proposing this type of legislation. New York has considered similar childrens’ product laws in recent years, but has failed to secure their passage. In the absence of a state-wide measure, several counties have moved to ban certain substances from children’s products. Litigation of Albany County’s measure, the first to be passed, is ongoing. The New York legislature is set to adjourn for the year on 16 June. There is no legislative carryover when the body reconvenes in 2017. A copy of the Bill is available at: Bill

Chemical Watch, 11 May 2016 ;http://chemicalwatch.com ;