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October 2014 | Results Newsletter

States Take on Chemical Crisis

State Alliance for Federal Reform of Chemicals Policy (SAFER)
$410,000 | 2006-2013

PROTECTING CHILDREN'S HEALTH: A young activist in Albany shows support for laws that would ban dangerous chemicals in children's toys.
Of the tens of thousands of chemicals in use, only 200 have been tested for health impact by the federal government. Of those, only five have been restricted from consumer products under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.

“Europe is way ahead of the U.S. in curtailing the use of dangerous and carcinogenic chemicals,” says Sarah Doll, national director of the Alliance. While Congress has refused to toughen the outdated law, state policymakers are leading the charge to protect children and families from toxic chemicals.

With Trust funding, the campaign has helped New York and other states come up with more than 100 policies that define the most hazardous chemicals and disclose their use in consumer products, ban the worst, and push manufacturers to find safer alternatives.

In 2009, Long Island’s Suffolk County was the first in the nation to ban the endocrine-disruptor bisphenol A (BPA) from baby bottles and sippy cups. Studies show this common chemical can harm development of the brain and prostate glands.

A year later, New York State banned the chemical from those products, and several other states followed. Later, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made the ban nationwide.

Companies also responded to state chemical laws. Maine strengthened its laws and started asking companies if they used BPA in toys. As a result, Hasbro removed BPA.

Washington State began collecting and sharing data on 66 toxic chemicals in children’s products. The result: Walmart and Target are screening products for chemicals on the list, and in some cases, pursuing safer alternatives.

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