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State Senate Shirks Responsibility for Protecting Children from Easily Preventable Harm

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A sixteenth vote could not be secured for a bill that would have protected Oregon’s children from dangerous chemicals in toys, teething rings, car seats and other children’s products

On the heels of a strong bipartisan vote of 39-21 in the State House, the State Senate chose not to vote on the Toxics Disclosure for Healthy Kids Act (HB 3162), sending it back to committee to die. HB 3162 would have advanced significant protections for children from dangerous toxic chemicals found in toys, teething rings and other children’s products.

Jul 08, 2013

Portland, OR—On the heels of a strong bipartisan vote of 39-21 in the State House, the State Senate chose not to vote on the Toxics Disclosure for Healthy Kids Act (HB 3162), sending it back to committee to die. HB 3162 would have advanced significant protections for children from dangerous toxic chemicals found in toys, teething rings and other children’s products.

“The Oregon Environmental Council is deeply disappointed with the senators who put the interests of the chemical lobby in front of the interests of Oregon’s children,” said Andrea Durbin, Executive Director of the Oregon Environmental Council. “Oregon Environmental Council believes every child in Oregon deserves a fair shot at a healthy future, without being compromised by hidden hazards in everyday products.”

Serious health problems ranging from cancer to asthma to learning disabilities have been linked to toxic chemicals in everyday household items—including products designed for children. The Toxics Disclosure for Healthy Kids Act would have required manufacturers to tell the Oregon Health Authority when their children's products contain one or more chemicals on a science-based list of "chemicals of concern" and replace them with safer alternatives over time when necessary.

The bill targeted products used by young children because they are the most affected by contact with dangerous chemicals. Their small size and still developing bodies put them at the greatest risk of lasting harm from exposure.

“Oregon has a national reputation for its home-grown green chemistry innovation,” said Durbin. “Instead of passing a bill that would spur markets for products manufactured using Oregon’s green chemistry expertise, the senators who killed this bill chose to put out-of-state interests first.”

Representatives Alissa Keny-Guyer (D-Portland) and Jason Conger (R-Bend) and Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D-Portland) provided outstanding leadership on HB 3162. The bill was supported by more than 50 major businesses and organizations in Oregon, including gDiapers, Finnegan’s Toys and Gifts, Oregon Health & Science University, Oregon Medical Association, Oregon Nurses Association and Providence Health & Services.

“A number of Oregon business leaders joined the coalition in support of HB 3162 because disclosure boosts consumer confidence and helps create a market for safer chemicals,” continued Durbin. “This bill was not only the right thing for families; it was also good for Oregon businesses and our state economy.”

Oregon Environmental Council will continue to promote comprehensive policies that protect Oregonians from toxic chemicals—policies emphasizing the most hazardous chemicals and the most vulnerable people and communities.

To learn more about the effects of toxic chemical exposure in children’s products, visit www.oeconline.org.

About the Oregon Environmental Council

Oregon Environmental Council protects the health of every Oregonian and the place we call home by working for clean air and water, a healthy climate, an unpolluted landscape and sustainable food and farms. Founded in 1968, OEC champions innovative, collaborative solutions to Oregon's environmental challenges.

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