CT CHILDREN’S COMMITTEE HOLDS PUBLIC HEARING ON BILLS TO PROTECT KIDS FROM TOXIC CHEMICAL EXPOSURE
Monday, March 10, 2014
Posted by: Jon Noel
HARTFORD –State Representative Diana Urban (D-Stonington) and Coalition for a Safe and Healthy CT Coordinator Anne Hulick RN, MSN, JD together held a press conference today to draw attention to legislation before the General Assembly aimed at protecting children from the numerous illnesses and disorders that have been associated with toxic chemical exposure. Joined by many lawmakers, health and advocacy organizations and members of the public, Urban and Hulick outlined the bills and urged support.
The bills, HB 5354 – AAC CHEMICALS OF HIGH CONCERN TO CHILDREN, HB 5035 – AAC TOXIC FIRE RETARDANTS IN CHILDREN’S PRODUCTS and HB 5305 – AAC CADMIUM LEVELS IN CHILDREN’S PRODUCTS were all raised in the General Assembly’s Children’s Committee, of which Urban is House Chair, and were slated for a public hearing at noon the same day in Room 2B of the LOB. Urban said that she expects a lot of testimony in support of the legislation as the issue has become more known among consumers – even major retailers like Wal-Mart and Target are developing policies to protect consumers from toxic chemicals in the products on their shelves.
Urban and Hulick said that the first and most encompassing of the bills, HB 5354, would authorize the state’s Department of Public Health (DPH) to study chemicals of high concern to children and report back to the Legislature every 2 years with recommendations to protect children from toxic chemical exposure. Both stressed that DPH supports the legislation and has indicated that this legislation would have no additional fiscal impact on their budget. HB 5035 bans the use of TDCPP, TDCP, TCEP or TCPP in children’s products including clothing, toys, nursing pillows, crib mattresses and car seats. HB 5305 was raised to address industry concerns over meeting the enactment deadline of July 2014 on legislation that passed in 2010 that lowered the allowable level of cadmium in children’s jewelry to .0075%. This bill pushes the enactment date to 2016.
Urban stressed that these bills are necessary when our state’s youngest citizens are being exposed to dangerous chemcals associated with serious illness everyday.
"It is incredibly important to protect our children from the many negative impacts of toxic chemicals," said Rep. Urban. "We know that there are 70,000 chemicals that have never been tested. What happened in West Virginia where the chemicals released were never tested an ended up in the water supply, should concern all parents. Children are especially susceptible to the illnesses, developmental delays, and cancers associated with exposure to toxic chemicals. Connecticut has been a leader in tackling these issues and our current bills will continue that trend."
Anne Hulick, RN, MSN, JD applauded the efforts of the Children’s Committee to protect children from toxic chemical exposure. “As always, I am thankful to the Children’s Committee and specifically to Rep. Urban for her leadership on this issue. Toxic chemical exposure is a serious public health issue and young children are the most vulnerable. Rep. Urban and our growing list of legislative champions understand that we need to do something now to protect our future generations from the harmful effects of the many thousands of chemicals in commerce today,” said Hulick.
Hulick added that there has been a 20% rise in children’s brain cancer and leukemia, a dramatic rise in learning and behavioral disorders and early puberty. “Reducing exposure is the very least we can do to try to protect children’s health.”