Prioritizing Children’s Health in Kid’s Products

Toxic chemicals that harm health should not be in our kids’ products. But they are.

Thousands of chemicals lurk in products our kids use every day and children are far more vulnerable to toxics than adults due to their smaller size and developing organs. Even worse, the most recent studies show that new chemical compounds are produced at a rate of 10 million per year, which translates to nearly 1,000 new chemicals synthesized every hour. In 2015, OEC led the advocacy work to pass the historic Toxic Free Kids Act (TFKA), requiring manufacturers of children’s products to disclose — and eventually phase out — the worst chemicals of concern for kids.

We’ve made great progress since then, but our kids need us to do more. This legislative session, OEC is reviving  HB 2495, a.k.a the 2021 Toxic Free Kids Act which will build on the success of the original TFKA program and strengthen protections for our kids.

What does the Toxic Free Kids Modernization Act do?

  • Updates Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA)s ability to regulate groups of chemicals instead of regulating chemicals one by one. This will prevent harmful chemicals from being phased out, only to be replaced with closely related and equally harmful materials.
  • Removes limits on number of  chemicals regulated. Currently, OHA is only allowed to add five new chemicals for regulation every three years. According to the EPA, more than 1,500 new chemicals are introduced into commerce each year.
  • Limits exemptions to chemical phaseouts granted to manufacturers to three years, rather than in perpetuity. New products are developed every year, and materials updates can and should be made when safer alternatives are available.
  • Makes it easier for parents to avoid products containing toxics by adding brand name and model information to reporting requirements.
  • Streamlines manufacturer reporting requirements and reduces program costs by aligning definitions and data management systems with Washington and other states.

The Toxic Free Kids Act approach has been and continues to be business-friendly, environmentally-friendly, and equitable for all consumers. It only applies to major manufacturers that make over $5 million in profits a year. It does not target small businesses. Doing so ensures that mainstream products in big-box stores become safer so that consumers can get safer products without having to shop at more expensive, specialty stores.

This bill has been filed on December 21, 2022 in time for the legislature’s pre-session filing deadline. 

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