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State legislature to act on toxic toys

April 28, 2019 11:13 AM

ALBANY - What child doesn't love to use their imagination to create new designs with a set of wooden building blocks?

"Formaldehyde is naturally occurring in wood and if this bill were to go forward, they would actually ban all wood products for kids," Darren Suarez, senior director of government affairs for the New York State Business Council, pointed out. "Building blocks, forget about them."

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New week, the state Legislature is expected to vote on a measure that could prohibit toys, clothing, and furniture manufactured for children, that contains dangerous chemicals. Nine chemicals are mentioned in the legislation as being dangerous, while 103 fall under the "chemicals of concern" category.

Also on the chopping block of kids' toys, blue bicycles because of the cobalt in the paint, or perhaps remote control cars due to benzene in the tires.

"We need to be encouraging kids to play and not be telling them that their toys might be risky," Suarez stated.

Dorian Solot of Albany, the mother of two young daughters and a breast cancer survivor, says the last thing in the world she ever wants to do is see her daughters go through what she went through beginning at age 26.

"I didn't have any family history, no risk factors for the disease," she said. "The only reason anybody can guess why I might have gotten cancer was because of toxins and carcinogens I was probably exposed to when I was a little kid growing up. It takes years for a cancer to grow."

Solot says she doesn't like to hear complaints from the State Business Council, or anyone else, that legislation intended to prohibit dangerous chemicals in children's products would create a hardship for the industry.

"There are safe ways to make bats and blocks and bicycles," she argued. "We don't need to be putting carcinogens into those products. It is mind blowing to me to think someone's going to argue, "Well, we don't really care about your kids."

Suarez believes proponents of the bill are using scare tactics.

"They are certainly bringing up certain chemicals names and trying to bring fear into folks," he said. "Unfortunately, the public is not aware sometimes of things naturally occurring."

"These aren't scare tactics," Solot countered. "These are peoples' lives, these are children's lives who grow up into those young people who get cancer. This is the world we want to live in? We want to live in a world where there aren't carcinogens and toxins in our children's toys and furniture."

Cohoes Assemblyman John McDonald (D - Cohoes) says he intends to vote for the bill and hopes other legislatures across the country are watching.

"The reality is we need more states to be on board with this," McDonald asserted. "The manufacturing industry doesn't just rely on selling toys to children in New York state."

McDonald also points out people often forget the toy industry realizes their responsibility to manufacture safe products. If they didn't, he says, it hurts their image, in their brand and their bottom line.


MORE INFORMAITON: Children's toy bill

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Dan Levy

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