Today we celebrate the implementation of a bi-partisan triumph! It is now illegal to sell toys with dangerous lead and chemical content to children. And millions of American parents and children can breathe a bit easier.
This February 10th is the date that the new Consumer Product Safety Information Act (CPSIA) goes into effect. This landmark bill, signed last summer by President Bush, earned the support of nearly every Republican and Democratic member of Congress. President Obama, then a Senator, wrote a key part of this bill while in the Senate. And we played our part too. MomsRising members sent nearly 100,000 letters in support of this legislation.
The CPSIA means:
• Lead will be essentially eliminated from toys and children’s products.
• Toxic phthalates will be been banned from children’s products.
• Consumers will have access to a public database to report and learn about unsafe
It was so good to see that we could all agree to this simple fact: It is not acceptable to sell products with lead and dangerous chemicals to children.
This law is critically important because investigators have found high lead levels in all kinds of children’s products including toys, baby bibs, diaper bags, jewelry, lunchboxes, and even candy. Just two weeks ago, the Center for Environmental Health took a lead scanner into two large drugstore chains to check out the Valentine’s Day aisle. They found a stuffed dog with lead levels FIFTEEN TIMES greater than the new lead standard. Not exactly the perfect way to say I love you!
Even small amounts of lead exposure can cause children to become inattentive, hyperactive and irritable. Lead exposure also causes problems with learning and reading, delayed growth, hearing loss, permanent brain damage and even death. And we’ve been putting it in toys? But no more!
Hip hip hooray for the CPSIA!
The CPSIA also bans chemicals known as phthalates from use in children’s products. These chemicals mimic hormones and are associated with a slew of disorders, including reproductive health problems (especially in boys), and liver and kidney cancer. To learn more about phthalates click here.
Congress passed the CPSIA banning these dangerous chemicals in pacifiers, sippy cups, and all other children's products. Great idea! Since we can’t just trust industry to clean themselves up, we need a strong partner in the federal government, and the Consumer Products Safety Commission, and that’s why passing the CPSIA was so important. And, why effectively implementing it is just as important.
The CPSIA will eliminate phthalates and lead in children’s products, and make children healthier. As we celebrate this huge victory, there are a few critical implementation details still on our minds. MomsRising.org is working with small businesses that still need help to comply with this important law.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) is still developing specific rules, and we will continue to empower you to support safe, handmade product manufacturers and resellers in this process without risking our children’s safety. For example, you can support component testing for safe, handmade products. We are also working to drastically expand the list of known-safe materials, and encouraging the CPSC to develop clear guidance and support for small businesses. To support expanding the list of known-safe materials, click here.
But today we can all celebrate. Because every mom (and dad, and grandparent, and future parent) can agree the CPSIA is a giant step forward for children’s safety.