October 31, 2015
Children’s products sold in the United States are presumed to be safe by parents but recent studies have proven otherwise. Despite bipartisan support in the 2014 and 2015 state legislative sessions, the Child Safe Products Act failed to make it over the finish line. The bill would simply have identified and eliminated the most dangerous chemicals currently present in children’s products sold throughout New York State.
Between 2014 and 2016, NYLCVEF worked with our partners to raise awareness about the issue throughout the state. 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, local lawmakers sprung into action in 2015:
- Albany becomes 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 2015.
- Suffolk County becomes third to take action on toxic toys in June.
- Also in June, New York City introduced a bill that would ban hazardous chemicals from children’s toys and clothes
- Rockland County unanimously passed legislation in July.
- In response to our work, other elected leaders have stepped up their efforts including United State Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and State Senator Jeffrey Klein.
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 End Stores
- 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 Passport Capital, Myron Blumenfeld/ the Macy’s Foundation, LCVEF, and the Seventh Generation Foundation for their generous support.< Back to Civic Engagement
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