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Progressive States Network Joins With Connecticut to Push Forward in Battle Against Toxic Toys

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 21, 2008
CONTACT: Austin Guest, aguest@progressivestates.org, 212.680.3116 x 110

PROGRESSIVE STATES NETWORK JOINS WITH CONNECTICUT
TO PUSH FORWARD IN BATTLE AGAINST TOXIC TOYS

Hartford, CT - This Wednesday, Progressive States Network joined with the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut to promote legislation designed to stem the flow of toxic toys into the hands of the state’s children.

At an open forum held for legislators and press at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, PSN Senior Environmental Policy Specialist Mijin Cha gave a set of prepared remarks detailing the urgency of passing legislation to ban lead and other toxic chemicals from consumer products and to create ongoing monitoring systems to identify toxics and replace them with safe alternatives.

According to Cha, “Connecticut has the exciting opportunity to lead the nation in eliminating toxics in children’s products; to protect those that cannot protect themselves.  We fully support their bold efforts to take action on such an urgent issue.”?

The Connecticut Bill, HB 5601, would ban lead in levels above 40 parts per million, a level recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and well below the federal limit of 600 parts per million, which many experts criticize as dangerously high.  Going one step further, Roy’s bill would also require manufacturers to submit their products for testing against a continually updated list of known toxins, so that dangerous chemicals can be identified and replaced.

The bill was formally introduced today by Rep. Richard Roy (D, 119th District) and will be taken up by the Joint Committee on the Environment in coming weeks.

As Cha was keen to emphasize, Rep. Roy’s inclusion of phthalates and bisphenol A in the list of banned substances is a crucial provision, since these chemicals are prevalent in a broad variety of consumer products and workplace environments and thus pose a risk not just to children but also to a broad swath of the population.  Also noting that Connecticut has the highest garbage incineration rate in the country, Cha highlighted the urgency of banning as wide a range of chemicals of possible in order to reduce the risk of disorders tied to toxics inhalation.

With the federal government taking no legislative action to regulate toxic toys and in fact cutting the staff and slashing the budget of the agency responsible for regulating the safety of imported products, states are essentially the only government entity taking action to protect the nation’s children.  Fortunately, the introduction of Roy’s bill comes in the midst of a surge of toxic toys legislation in the states.  With California leading the charge to ban phthalates last year, and with Washington and Maine introducing new legislation to implement toxin monitoring and replacement systems this January, there are currently 25 states that have introduced or are planning to introduce anti-toxics legislation.

Progressive States Network has been working closely with legislators and advocacy groups from these states to provide model legislation, fact sheets, and other organizational support for their toxic toys campaigns.       

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