Report: Healthy Kids, Healthy MarylandHealthy Kids, Healthy Maryland

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Toxic Chemicals in Your Shopping Cart
Released by: Maryland PIRG Foundation and Washington Toxics Coalition

Executive Summary

Parents want and expect the products they use to care for their children to be safe and free of harmful chemicals. But our nation’s toxic chemical laws are weak and ineffective and many harmful chemicals get into everyday consumer products without the public’s knowledge. Taking steps to remedy this problem, Washington State passed the Children’s Safe Products Act in 2008 (CSPA). CSPA set up requirements for makers of children’s products being sold in Washington to report to the state if these products contain chemicals on a list of 66 Chemicals of High Concern to Children. Manufacturer reporting began phasing-in in 2012. This document summarizes the chemicals and products reported from March 5 to September 6 of 2013.

Overall there were 4,605 reports of Chemicals of High Concern to Children reported in children’s products such as toys, clothing, baby safety products, and bedding during this time period. A total of 78 companies such as Walmart, Target, Safeway, Walgreens, Nike, and Toys “R” Us reported products containing harmful chemicals. A total of 49 chemicals such as formaldehyde, bisphenol A (BPA), parabens, phthalates, heavy metals, and industrial solvents were reported. The health effects of reported chemicals include carcinogenicity, endocrine disruption, and developmental or reproductive toxicity. This time period of reporting showed new companies reporting and showed new products being reported such as children’s tableware containing formaldehyde and toy vehicles containing antimony trioxide flame retardant.

Washington’s reporting law is achievable for the business community. More states should be passing these laws so families have chemical information about products being sold where they live. Retailers should remove products containing toxic chemicals from their store shelves. Ultimately, companies should phase these chemicals out of use and Congress should strengthen and update the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. Families can help bring about these changes by taking action.

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