Oregon Passes Historic Toxics Protections

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For Immediate Release: Oregon Passes Historic Toxics Protections
Oregon Legislature Acts to Phase Out Known Hazardous Chemicals
from Children’s Products

Salem, OR – July 3, 2015: Today, the Oregon House cast a decisive and bipartisan vote in favor of the Toxic Free Kids Act (SB 478), a bill that requires manufacturers to disclose and phase out hazardous chemicals in consumer products targeted at children.

“This law isn’t about regulating products that haven’t been made,” said Oregon State Senator Chris Edwards in an impassioned floor speech. “This law is about protecting children that haven’t been born.”

A growing body of research has shown that even small amounts of hazardous chemicals in consumer products are linked to increased cancer risk, hormone disruption, and developmental issues. The Toxic Free Kids Act addresses these fundamental and avoidable contributors to chronic health conditions by first establishing a list of priority chemicals that pose the greatest concern to children’s health. The Oregon Health Authority will then collect the data needed to understand where and in what quantity hazardous chemicals occur in children’s products and set in motion a process to ensure manufacturers replace hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives over time.

“With this vote, Oregon has shown it can be a leader in doing what’s right by our kids, said Oregon Environmental Council Executive Director Andrea Durbin. “Not just calling out the hazardous chemicals in the blankets and balls we give to our children, but making sure that these products get safer over time.”

Oregon’s Toxic Free Kids Act is one of the nation’s strongest and most comprehensive bills addressing toxics in consumer products. It:

  • Requires product manufacturers to phase out chemicals of concern in products where direct exposures are most likely and where the youngest, most vulnerable children could be exposed, specifically products applied directly to the skin, mouthable products, and products manufactured for children under the age of three.
  • Provides a practical compliance timeframe to support the development and use of safer alternatives.
  • Is distinct from similar laws in other states in that it requires manufacturers to phase out the use of chemicals of concern, while providing a science-based approach for identifying safer alternatives. By avoiding “regrettable substitutions,” Oregon’s law will move manufacturers off the toxic treadmill of replacing one toxic chemical with another.

The Toxic Free Kids Act could also lead to significant savings for the state. The yearly cost of just four childhood health problems linked to chemical exposures in the U.S.—lead poisoning, asthma, cancer, and developmental disabilities—is more than $54 billion.

The concept was first introduced by Oregon State Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer in 2012 and has garnered widespread support among businesses, health providers, communities of color, labor representatives, children’s advocates, and parents alike. It was approved by the Oregon House of Representatives in 2013, but never voted on in the Oregon Senate.

“Oregon parents don’t know if the teething ring they give their infant contains chemicals that would make them sick,” said Representative Keny-Guyer “We must do we all we can to prevent the occurrence of chronic diseases, and part of that effort must be reducing childhood exposures to toxic chemicals.”

 

About Oregon Environmental Council

Oregon Environmental Council safeguards what Oregonians love about Oregon—clean air and water, an unpolluted landscape and healthy food produced by local farmers. For more than 45 years we’ve been a champion for solutions to protect the health of every Oregonian and the place we call home. Find out more at oeconline.org.

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Media Contact:
Jessica Moskovitz, Communications Director
Oregon Environmental Council
p: 503.222.1969 c: 503.929.6309
e: jessicam@oeconline.org

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