Senate passes bill that helps to make products for children safer

Mark Grisanti

June 22, 2011

New York State Senator Mark Grisanti recently announced the passage of legislation that he sponsored that prohibits the sale of products aimed at children under the age of three containing the flame retardant chemical TRIS 2-chloroethyl phosphate.

This measure, which was also sponsored byNew York State Assemblyman Bob Sweeney, is the first of its kind nationwide. 

“Children are more sensitive to and are at an increased risk from chemical exposure,” said Senator Grisanti. “The passage of this legislation is an important step in helping to protect children from unnecessary health risks caused by chemicals found in some products designed for young children.  There are safer alternatives that do not have the same health concerns. Protecting children from toxic chemicals is among our top priorities, so I am very pleased to have joined with my colleagues in the New York State Senate to pass this landmark legislation.” 

Studies by the National Cancer Institute have linked certain types of TRIS to cancer, and have found that TRIS can be absorbed by children through the skin or by mouthing objects containing the chemical.

The bill defines “child care product” to mean a consumer product intended for use by children under three, such as baby products, toys, car seats, nursing pillows, crib mattresses and strollers.  No child care products containing TRIS would be authorized for sale in New York State after December 1, 2013.

The legislation builds on a 1977 decision by the United States Consumer Product Safety commission to ban the sale of children’s clothing containing TRIS.  Since then, consensus has grown as to the harmful effects of TRIS.  The European Chemical Bureau of the European Union considers TRIS to be a carcinogen, and Canada has classified it as a toxic chemical. 

“It takes a forward-thinking leaders like Assemblyman Sweeney and Senator Grisanti to advance the first state-level TRIS ban in the nation,” said Kathy Curtis, Policy Director for Clean New York.

Having passed both chambers of the New York State Legislature, the bill will now go before Governor Cuomo for his decision.