Chemicals of Concern In Children’s Products
In 2015 the Oregon legislature passed the Toxic Free Kids Act. The law requires manufacturers who make children’s products to report when their products contain toxic chemicals that are scientifically linked to health impacts in kids.
Three years later, we got our first glimpse into the range of toxic chemicals in kid’s products when manufacturers were required to file initial report to the Oregon Health Authority on January 1, 2018. Manufacturers will be required to report for a second time by December 2020, and begin phasing out chemicals in some products with proven safer alternatives by 2022.
More than 4,000 reports to the Oregon Health Authority show that toys, clothes, crafts, bedding, baby gear sold in Oregon in 2017 contain more than 50 different chemical ingredients that are scientifically linked to health impacts in kids. It’s not currently possible to search the data for chemicals of concern in a specific product or brand name. However, Oregon Health Authority and other state agencies are working with the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse to make that kind of search possible in the future.
Federal law doesn’t require manufacturers to tell consumers when toxic chemicals are in products made for kids. Oregon and other states are working to fill the gaps, helping us understand how our kids may be exposed to toxic chemicals in their daily lives. Children’s products are an important potential source of exposure to toxic chemicals, but not the only source. These kinds of toxic chemicals are found in a wide variety of products. That’s why we need public health laws that protect our right to know what’s in the products we buy.