Childrens’ Health Bill Endangered by Senate Walkout

Oregon is ready to do more to protect children from dangerous chemicals. The Senate walkout threatens the passage of HB 3043 – the Toxic Free Kids Modernization Act – a bill that has gained bipartisan support. 

What’s at stake:
Thousands of chemicals lurk in products and toys our kids encounter every day, and children are far more vulnerable to toxics than adults. The health impacts from exposure to these chemicals in products are significant and include skin irritation, allergies, respiratory illness, headaches, endocrine disruption, reproductive disruption, and in the worst cases, cancer.

With a growing body of research about the health risks of toxic chemicals in everyday products, and the rest of our nation taking action, now is the time for Oregon to tackle toxic chemicals.

Oregon is falling behind on Toxics!
In 2015, Oregon led the way by passing the standard-setting Toxic Free Kids Act with bipartisan support to require manufacturers of kids’ products to disclose harmful chemicals and ultimately phase them out or replace them with safe alternatives. Now eight years after the law was first passed, Oregon is falling behind as new dangerous chemicals continue to enter the market.

In the last two weeks, states across the nation have been taking critical actions to address toxic chemicals in products:

Keeping toxic chemicals out of kids’ products has been a top priority for OEC since Oregon’s Toxic Free Kids Act first passed eight years ago. Today, HB 3043 – the Toxic Free Kids Modernization Act – is needed to update the law by strengthening protections for children’s health and streamlining business reporting requirements.

Critical action is needed today!
The Toxic Free Kids Modernization Act (HB3043) will make commonsense updates to Oregon’s current regulations based on scientific developments and community needs.

The Oregon Health Authority needs more tools to ensure this program can effectively manage the wide range of chemicals of concern for children’s health. HB 3043 would remove the artificial 5 chemical limit so that OHA can keep pace with science and add chemicals of concern to the program in a much more timely manner. It would also give OHA authority to govern groups (or “classes”) of chemicals, and would also require the reporting of chemicals in brand name and product models (i.e. “Mattel Malibu Barbie”) so that consumers can understand reported information more easily to make buying decisions.

The walkout:
Protecting children’s health has been – and always will be – a bipartisan issue. The Toxic Free Kids bills have gained bipartisan support in 2015, 2021, and now in 2023.

Since 2021, special interest opponents have proposed at least two dozen conflicting amendments. OEC has stayed at the table. We worked with our partners, as well as Republican and Democratic lawmakers and spent two full months negotiating with the bill’s opponents.

This session, HB 3043 passed the House on a bipartisan 42-12 vote. As of May, it has passed the Senate Energy and Environment Committee. And the bill now sits at the front door of the Senate floor, awaiting a quorum and a vote. This critical children’s health bill is now threatened not only by its opponents – but by political inaction and failure of some State Senators to show up for work. An incredible amount of time has been invested in a bill to better protect all of Oregon’s children and the bill deserves a chance to move forward.

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