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Poison in Paint, Toxics in Toys

Seattle, WA – A report released today identifies for the first time more than 650 brand name products that contain two hormone-disrupting toxic chemicals.  Based on new industry data, the report reveals for the first time a toxic ingredient, known as NPEs (nonylphenol ethoxylates), in nearly 300 household paints, as well as several cleaners, wood finishes and home maintenance products. The report also names plastic toys, such as Chicco baby rattles, which contain BPA (or bisphenol A), the same toxic chemical already banned in plastic baby bottles and sippy cups.

The report, Poison in Paint, Toxics in Toys, summarizes the first chemical use reports submitted by product manufacturers under a new state chemical safety law passed in Maine.  Similar state laws go into effect in Washington and California next year and are pending in other states, as Congress lags behind in reforming the outdated federal Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.

“Shoppers shouldn’t have to be chemical experts to find products that are safe for their families. This new information will help consumers choose products that won’t harm their health,” said Ivy Sager-Rosenthal, campaign director for the Washington Toxics Coalition. “But hormone-disrupting chemicals shouldn’t be on store shelves. We urge companies and policymakers to remove these harmful chemicals and others from consumer products as soon as possible”.

“The stunning Maine study shows why Washington’s Children’s Safe Products Act was right to require full disclosure of toxic chemicals in children’s products, but even more importantly it shows the urgency of replacing these toxic threats with safe alternatives that won’t hurt kids,” said Mary Lou Dickerson (D-Seattle), prime sponsor of the Act.

“Our babies and children don’t know that their playthings may contain toxic chemicals – and until recently, their parents couldn’t know, either. As this report demonstrates, we need to give people information about what is in the products they buy. And ultimately, we need to stop manufacturing products with toxic chemicals,” said Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island.

Armed with this new chemical use information, government can make better decisions to restrict toxic chemicals and industry leaders can switch to safer substitutes, just like the infant formula makers who recently ended their use of BPA in metal cans.  Twenty-five manufacturers reported on priority chemical use in consumer products to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.  For a full searchable listing of every brand name product reported to contain BPA or NPEs, visit

Studies have shown that BPA and NPEs mimic the sex hormone estrogen.  Studies show BPA affects brain development and is linked to early puberty and obesity, among many other adverse health effects.  NPEs are highly toxic to aquatic life, degrade into a long-lived chemical that builds up in the food chain, and may harm reproduction and development in humans.  Aggregate exposure to BPA and NPEs from all sources threatens the health of children, workers and the environment.

More and more states are enacting laws to protect the health of American families from toxic chemicals in response to the failure of the obsolete federal chemical safety system to protect public health and the environment.  In Washington state, the Children’s Safe Products Act requires manufacturers to disclose their use of priority chemicals of high concern in consumer products beginning in August 2012.

Under a new bill proposed for the 2012 Legislative Session, manufacturers who report using BPA, formaldehyde, antimony, or toxic tris flame retardants, would be required to identify safer chemicals for use in their products. It would also ban the use of cancer-causing tris flame retardants in children’s products. The bill, called the Toxics-Free Kids Act, is sponsored by Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-Maury Island) and Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-Seattle).

“In the absence of federal leadership, state policies are the best way to identify and restrict toxic chemicals in products,” said Mike Belliveau, lead report author and executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center based in Portland, Maine.  “Until Congress acts, we can expect more states and businesses to respond to consumer demand for toxic-free products.”

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Stephanie Stohler, [email protected]

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