New York lawmakers to try again with bill to restrict toxins in toys; measure died last year

IndustrialsAssociated Press

Two New York state lawmakers have reintroduced legislation intended to ban the use of toxic chemicals in children's toys — but the legislation continues to face opposition from toy manufacturers.

Republican Sen. Phil Boyle and Democratic Assemblyman Steve Englebright said Monday they will push the legislation again after it failed to pass the state Senate last year.

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The measure would require manufacturers to phase out the use of chemicals considered harmful, such as benzene, mercury, cadmium and cobalt.

"Protecting children from toxic chemicals is just common sense," said Boyle, a Long Island Republican. "Despite market advancements and announcements by major retailers, voluntary measures just don't get us there."

Toy industry groups say manufacturers already follow federal safety rules and chemical companies have warned of possible job losses if the bill passes.

David Garriepy, director of state government affairs for the Toy Industry of America, said that while well-intentioned, state-based regulations could create a confusing patchwork of requirements for toy makers. Plus, he said, just because a particular chemical is present in small amounts doesn't mean it's a health threat.

"We've stepped up as an industry," Garriepy said. "We want to make sure toys are safe in New York — and Connecticut, and California, and Oregon."