Children’s products sold in the United States are presumed to be safe by parents but recent studies have proven otherwise. Since 2014, NYLCVEF has worked with its partners to raise awareness about the issue throughout the state and encourage action by state and local governments.
In 2014 and 2015, we conducted tests in stores throughout the state and released six reports showing that dangerous chemicals were present in children's jewelry, toy cars, clothing, and more. To produce these reports, NYLCVEF partnered with Clean and Healthy New York to analyze popular toys in area stores for toxic chemicals and heavy metals. Results of this test found products containing antimony, arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, lead, and mercury.
Many of the chemicals we found are known carcinogens and can lead to serious developmental disorders in children. Even with a federal law on the books, it's hard for anyone to know exactly what chemicals are present in the item they're buying. Thanks to the support of various foundations, we reached more people than ever about this issue by reaching out to new members from across the state. We even got Santa Claus into the action around the holidays to help educate even more people about these dangerous chemicals.
After the release of our reports and our grassroots advocacy, state and local lawmakers sprung into action:
- New York State introduced the Child Safe Products Act identified and eliminated the most dangerous chemicals currently present in children's products sold throughout New York State.
- Albany becomes the first county in New York State to enact legislation protecting children from toxic toys in January.
- Westchester County executive signs bill to ban toxic toys from store shelves in May.
- Suffolk County becomes third to take action on toxic toys in June.
- Also in June of 2015, New York City introduced a bill that would ban hazardous chemicals from children's toys and clothes
- Rockland County unanimously passed legislation in July 2015.
In 2017, our statewide efforts continued with the introduction of the Toxic Show and Tell Act, a bill that would require children's product makers to disclose the presence of a set of chemicals of concern to children's health in the products they make.
In 2018, NYLCVEF and its partner Clean and Healthy New York teamed up again to produce a new report, "Tell Me More: Missing Information on Harmful Chemicals in Children's Products" that screened children’s products purchased on Long Island, in Westchester County and Albany finding heavy metals, such as cadmium and antimony, and flame retardants. The report also includes findings of chemicals of concern in children's products that was conducted and published in peer-reviewed journals by researchers from the New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Laboratory.
While we continue to work on a statewide solution, our local work will continue in New York City and other counties to protect children from toxic toys.
Interested in learning more about our Toxic Toys campaign?
- Report: Arsenic, Mercury, Lead Found in Toys Sold at Low to High-Endtores
- Environmental group identifies Dirty Dozen of toys
- Coalition works to push for state laws restricting chemicals in toys
- Supporters see progress on child-products regulation
- Report: Toxic toys being sold in Erie County
- Clean & Healthy NY, League of Conservation Voters, Poloncarz release 'Toxic Toys in Erie County' report
- Groups urge passage of toxic-toy law
- Round Two for the Child Safe Products Act
- Report Finds Toxic Chemicals in Albany Toys
- New Westchester Report Finds Toxic Toys Throughout County
- New Report Shows Toxic Toys in Long Island Stores
Many thanks to League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, Passport Capital, Myron Blumenfeld/ the Macy’s Foundation, and the Seventh Generation Foundation for their generous support.