Governor Cuomo: "I remember full well the worry and apprehension felt every time my daughters left the house, but the potential dangers lurking in the home create another level of fear for a parent. With these tough new standards, New Yorkers will finally have the peace of mind knowing their children are not being unwittingly exposed to toxic chemicals."
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.501B / A.6296A) to protect children's health by better regulating the use of chemicals in children's products. The bill requires manufacturers to disclose the use of chemicals in children's products and requires the Department of Environmental Conservation to make this information public to consumers. The legislation was signed pursuant to a chapter agreement, which will reorganize the regulatory framework for DEC to designate chemicals of concern and high-priority chemicals, establish a children's product safety council charged with providing DEC with making recommendations on additional chemicals which should be considered for future prohibitions on use in children's products, establish timelines for future regulatory actions, incorporate a standard by which chemicals should be reviewed by the department for future prohibitions as well as other technical changes.
"I remember full well the worry and apprehension felt every time my daughters left the house, but the potential dangers lurking in the home create another level of fear for a parent," Governor Cuomo said. "With these tough new standards, New Yorkers will finally have the peace of mind knowing their children are not being unwittingly exposed to toxic chemicals."
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Governor Cuomo has made New York State a national leader in strengthening protections against harmful chemicals that threaten public health and pollute the environment. Strictly regulating the use of chemicals in children's products is responsible public policy. DEC is excited to undertake this important initiative which will prevent potentially hazardous chemicals from harming our children and the environment."
Under the law, DEC will promulgate a list of chemicals of concern, which will define chemicals that have a specific hazard profile. Chemicals that have a specific hazard profile includes chemicals that have been identified by a government entity and/or identified on the basis of credible scientific evidence as a carcinogen, asthmagen, or reproductive or developmental toxicant. Within 12 months of a chemical being identified as a chemical of concern, manufacturers will be required to disclose the use that chemical, and the bill will allow DEC to share this information with an online database used by other states that have similar programs. DEC will promulgate a list of chemicals of concern within two years and the bill contains a list of chemicals that should be considered by the department.
The bill also creates a category of high-priority chemicals, and includes criteria for the department to add to the list of high-priority chemicals that will also be subject to disclosure. High-priority chemicals will be reviewed periodically to determine if such chemical should be subject to a prohibition and manufacturers which use high-priority chemicals in their products would be required to notify retailers that the chemical is contained within a product.
The bill would also create a children's product safety council that will advise DEC on additional chemicals that should be added to a list of high-priority chemicals and chemicals that should be prohibited from use in a children's product based on the potential for exposure to such chemical.
Senator Todd Kaminsky, Chair of Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "There are countless toys on the market that pose a serious health risk to children and need to be regulated. This bill will dramatically reduce that risk and allow parents to make informed decisions when shopping for their kids. I'm proud to sponsor this bill thank the Governor for his support."
Assembly Member Steven Englebright, Chair of Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "Children are more sensitive to and are at increased risk from chemical exposure. The passage of this legislation is an important step to protect children from unnecessary health risks caused by dangerous chemicals found in children's products. As the Assembly has passed this legislation for many years, I am delighted that this work has finally resulted in a new law to protect New York's children."
As part of New York's aggressive and extensive initiatives and investments to protect the public's drinking water supplies, Governor Cuomo recently signed a new law to help prevent the emerging contaminant 1,4-dioxane from contaminating New York's water systems. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identifies 1,4-dioxane as a likely carcinogen to humans and this new law prohibits the sale of household cleaning products containing 1,4-dioxane at certain levels and limits the sale of cosmetic and personal care products with certain levels of 1,4-dioxane.
Governor Cuomo has also launched New York's Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure program. New York State is leading the nation by requiring manufacturers to disclose information about all of the chemicals that might be found in household cleaning products, including byproducts (such as 1,4-dioxane) and other impurities. This initiative will help the state better understand public exposure to chemical hazards.