March 16, 2015
Following the enactment in January of Albany County, New York’s Local Law J to ban specified toxic chemicals in children’s products, similar legislative activity is under way in other counties in the state of New York.
Dutchess County Resolution No. 2015029 was introduced to protect infants and children from the harmful health effects of exposure to toxic chemicals. As with Albany County’s law, this measure would prohibit the sale of children’s products that contain benzene, lead, mercury, antimony, arsenic, cadmium, and cobalt. If enacted, the law would take effect one year following its filing in the Office of the New York Secretary of State.
Suffolk County legislators introduced Resolution No. 2176-2014, dubbed “the Toxin Free Toys Act,” which prohibits the same toxic chemicals in children’s products as the Albany and Dutchess County measures prohibit. It would take effect 180 days after being filed in the Office of the New York Secretary of State.
Westchester County legislators introduced a similar measure to protect children from toxic chemicals, but in addition to the chemicals targeted in Albany, Dutchess and Suffolk Counties, the Westchester County measure also targets formaldehyde, and that law would take effect immediately.
Industry lobbyists and opponents claim that, from an enforcement standpoint, these county laws will be fraught with difficulty and expense. However, advocates contend that simply having these laws on the books will result in safer products being available to children.