Various brands of children’s toys, clothes, and car seats that are available for purchase at local and national retail chains contain toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, arsenic, and asbestos. A bill to address the issue that environmental advocates have been working on for 10 years, called the Child Safe Products Act, was finally passed in Albany last April.
"The bill does three things," according to Bobbi Wilding, deputy director of Clean & Healthy New York. "It requires manufacturers to tell us if harmful chemicals are in the goods they sell. It requires them to phase out the most toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, arsenic and asbestos in children's products. And it creates a framework for reporting and banning additional dangerous chemicals in children's products in the future."
It's not certain Governor Andrew Cuomo will sign the bill as it's currently written; business groups claim the bill is too broad. But even if the governor does sign it, the law wouldn't go into effect until next year.
Until then, according to Wilding, parents need to be vigilant and read labels on everything, from sippy cups to blankets.
Consumers can also visit retailerreportcard.com to find out which stores are working hard to protect consumers and which are not. The website was created by the group "Safe Chemicals Healthy Families," a coalition of organizations and businesses working to safeguard families from toxic chemicals. The coalition evaluated 43 retailers; about one-third of the stores received failing grades. Retailers receiving A ratings included Apple, Walmart, and Target.
Activists like Bobbi Wilding are urging the governor to sign the Child Safe Products Act as soon as possible, because federal consumer protections have been rolled back by the Trump administration.