PPAI has reached out to the New York Senate’s Environmental Conservation Committee on a bill set for a vote today that would create new reporting and restriction requirements for chemicals in children’s products. If passed, the bill would create a costly regulatory program that is inconsistent with similar laws in other states, and unnecessary when a new federal law regulating chemicals is currently being implemented.

The Association commends the sponsor’s interest in assuring that children’s products are safe, and it supports appropriate and strong children’s safety and chemical regulations at the federal level. However, it has some serious concerns with unique state chemical and product requirements, such as those in S501, and urges the committee not to move forward with the bill.

For one, the bill ignores existing laws regulating children’s products. All children’s products sold in the U.S. must also comply with numerous federal safety and environmental regulations under a variety of laws and regulations. If the proposed legislation were to pass, several provisions of the law would be preempted under federal law. Additionally, Congress recently passed a law to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and strengthen federal regulation of chemicals in commerce. Under the new law, the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act (LSCA), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has expanded authority to inventory, review of chemicals and timelines to complete chemicals evaluations. States can take an active role in the new system by directly participating in the risk evaluations or providing input and data to the EPA. The recent overhaul of the federal chemicals management system should be given a chance to achieve its goals before states enact new laws continuing a complex patchwork of chemical regulation.

Also, the chemical disclosure program proposed in this bill would be inconsistent with similar programs in Washington, Vermont and Oregon. S501 does not differentiate between chemicals that are intentionally added and those that are contaminants and may be naturally occurring. This difference will make reporting in New York extremely costly and inconsistent.

S501 proposes to give the Department of Environmental Conservation broad authority to list chemicals for reporting and restrictions without specific scientific criteria or a safety-based, decision-making framework. Policies that seek to provide public information and/or restrict the use of certain chemicals or products must be based on credible, safety-based science and should include full consideration of the level of exposure and harm.

The bill would also create a complex and costly regulatory program. No amount of money is too great to protect children, but increasing costs without increasing safety is a concern for the industry. State-based standards that are inconsistent with international, federal or other state requirements make compliance difficult and costly, threatening the viability of children’s product manufacturers, distributors and retailers in New York. Ensuring compliance with the new requirements of this bill would mandate the creation of extensive data collection and submission systems, additional product testing and require extensive resources for companies and the state.