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Group seeks laws to protect kids from toxic chemicals in toys

Healthy Legacy, a Minnesota-based public health coalition, recently announced its intent to pursue legislation that will protect children from toxic chemicals in consumer products.

The legislative package, which contains three bills, seeks to eliminate toxic chemicals from products marketed to children.

"There are bills that are very controversial, there are bills that are slightly controversial, and then there are these bills, which parents around the state agree are just common sense," said Deanna White, Co-Director of the Healthy Legacy Coalition, "Minnesotans may differ on economic or social policies, but we all agree that we need to protect our children from chemicals that we know could be jeopardizing their health."

The bills will build on the momentum of the Toxic Free Kids Act of 2009 where the Minnesota Department of Health and Pollution Control Agency created a list of chemicals of high concern. They have identified nine highly dangerous chemicals used in children's products - formaldehyde, BPA, lead, cadmium, three phthalates and two flame retardants.

"I shouldn't have to have a chemistry degree in order to ensure that my daughter isn't exposed to toxic chemicals," stated Minnesota Mom Meredith Salmi-Bydalek, "parents deserve to know that the products we buy for our kids are safe."

The Toxic Free Kids Act of 2013 requires manufacturers to report the presence of any of these chemicals in any of their children's products and gives state agencies the authority to require a gradual phase out of these nine chemicals and the substitution of safer alternatives.

Two additional bills would require the phase out of chemicals that have already been identified as priority chemicals, formaldehyde and bisphenol-A.

The Formaldehyde in Children's Personal Care Products Act (SF357/HF458) will require personal care products intended for children under 12 to be formaldehyde-free within a year.

The BPA in Children's Food Packaging Bill (SF379/HF459) will require manufacturers to stop using BPA in all food packaging intended for children less than 12 years old within a year.

"The science is clear that formaldehyde and BPA are threats to our children's health and that safer alternatives are available," stated Kathleen Schuler, Co-Director of the Healthy Legacy Coalition. "These bills are sensible steps to protect Minnesota kids."

Hearings will be scheduled on all three bills in the Minnesota Legislature.