Help Michigan Families Protect Their Children From Toxics
Children are our future and, as a society, it is our responsibility to protect their health. Yet, out of a large sample of children’s products tested recently, a third of them contained lead, mercury, cadmium, bromine, and even arsenic.1 Exposure to these chemicals can have long-term health impacts on young children. These chemicals can end up in our bodies, our wildlife, and our Great Lakes ecosystem.
Unfortunately, manufacturers are not required to disclose their use of many toxic chemicals present in children’s products, preventing consumers from differentiating between a contaminated product and a safe product. Michigan families deserve to know if the children’s products they purchase contain toxic chemicals, and disclosing the most harmful chemicals will protect our children and the waterways we love.
1 HealthyStuff.org. “Healthystuff.org Findings.” http://www.healthystuff.org/departments/toys/about.findings.php
Children are the most vulnerable to toxic chemicals because their bodies develop so quickly. Healthy development can be easily disrupted with low dose exposure to toxic chemicals at critical stages in the womb, as babies, and as children. Proven medical testing repeatedly finds toxic, industrial chemicals in umbilical cord blood, breast milk, infants and young children. Many of these chemicals are linked to cancer, reproductive problems, and developmental disorders.
Current federal and state laws do not adequately protect Michigan’s children from toxic chemicals in products. There are over 80,000 chemicals on the marketplace including lead, BPA and phthalates.
The Environmental Protection Agency has been able to require testing on just 200 chemicals and only five have been regulated for safety.1 In 2010, both the House and Senate introduced federal legislation to fix the Toxic Susbtances Control Act (TSCA)—the act responsible for regulating chemicals in the marketplace. However, this legislation has been slow moving, putting a greater need at the state level to disclose
and regulate chemicals.
1Safer Chemicals Healthy Families. “The Health Case for Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act” http://healthreport.saferchemicals.org/PDFs/The_Health_Case_for_
Reforming_the_Toxic_Substances_Control_Act.pdf. January 2010.
October, 2012: A HealthyStuff.org study finds all cell phones they tested for toxic chemicals contained either lead, bromine, chlorine, mercury, and cadmium.
June, 2012: The MNCEH releases a poll showing that a majority of Republican, Democrat and independent voters in Michigan support stricter regulations on chemicals used in everyday products.
May, 2012: The Michigan Network for Children's Environmental Health released a study finding toxic chemicals in garden products. Read the study here.
March, 2012: The Michigan Network for Children's Environmental Health released a study finding cadmium in children's jewerly products. Read the study here.
December, 2011: Senator Rebekah Warren introduced the Children's Safe Products Act, SB 893 and SB 894. Senator Rick Jones introduces SB 867 which prohibits the sale of lindane (lice treatment) expect when supervised by a doctor.
October, 2011: Senator Kahn introduced SB 764 which will ban cadmium and mercury in children's products.
May, 2011: the Michigan Network for Children's Environmental Health released a study finding that toxic chemicals are pervasive in baby products sold in Michigan. Read the press release here.
March, 2011: Senator Kahn held a working group meeting between environmental groups, industry and toy manufacturers. Pressure from industry and budget obligations has slowed the introduction of this bill. The Michigan Network for Children's Environmental Health continues to hold in-district meetings with senators, and participate in meetings with legislators in Lansing. Constituents who want to keep their children safe from toxic chemical exposure in toys are urged to continue contacting their legislators to introduce this bill.
January, 2011: Senators Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw), Micheal Nofs (R-Calhoun), Jim Marleau (R-Oakland), and Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor), made a committment to introduce legislation that would protect Michigan's children by:
- Providing accessible information about toxic chemicals in children's products;
- Adopting a state list of the most harmful chemicals in children’s products;
- Requiring large manufacturers and importers of children’s products to disclose which chemicals are present;
- Joining with other states to efficiently implement the law.