New Suffolk County law on Long Island bans toys with certain chemicals in them

Kristin Thorne Image
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
New Suffolk County law bans toys containing certain chemicals
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Kristin Thorne reports from Hauppauge.

HAUPPAGUE, N.Y. (WABC) -- A new law on Long Island is aimed at preventing the sale of toxic toys.

On Tuesday, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone signed a law that would prohibit selling toys that contain antimony, arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, lead and mercury, all carcinogens.

County officials say the chemicals can cause cancer, hyperactivity and genetic disorders in children.

"This bill is designed to put manufacturers on notice that we need to make sure that these toys that are in the hands of our children are not causing harm," said Bellone.

The Toxin Free Toys Act mandates that all new toys sold in the county comply with limits that are stricter than federal standards. The law was written in response to a report from the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) and Clean & Healthy New York.

"Children should be playing with things that are intentionally designed not to make them sick," said Bobbi Chase Wilding of Clean & Healthy New York.

The report found products with carcinogens in Long Island stores. "This is about protecting children and protecting families," said Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn.

Beginning in December 2016, inspectors with the county's department of health will randomly check stores for toxic toys and clothes using an x-ray flourescence analyzer.

The health department will begin educating retailers in January 2016 so retailers know how to spot a possibly toxic toy.

"We will have a year of education to the retailers letting them know that they cannot sell toys that contain these toxic chemicals," said Hahn.

The toy industry, though, is fighting back.

We checked in with the Toy Industry Association. They said the new Suffolk County law is not needed.

A spokesperson said under federal law all toys in the U.S. undergo more than 100 different safety tests.

If a product fails, it's banned from the shelves.

The Association told us: "Instead of improving product safety, this inefficent, unnecessary and illegal bill merely prevents families in Suffolk County from buying fun, safe and beneficial playthings for their children."

Nancy Poserina owns Lots and Lots of Toys on Main Street in Smithtown.

She says she's not too concerned because she only buys from legitimate toy manufacturers and even sells green toys.

"I mean we're not that worried because I think we're doing the right thing on our end, at least we're trying to and we want to make everything safe," said Poserina.