Victory for Public Health: Toxic-Free Families Wins Final Passage!

After a long journey, the Vermont Senate voted 26 to 3 late Friday night in favor of the Toxic-Free Families Act (S.239), and the bill is now headed to the Governor’s desk. Vermont’s bill is viewed by many as the nation’s strongest toxic chemical reform legislation.

Just when the bill seemed like it was going to run out of time legislators stepped up and, in spite of heavy industry pressure to kill the bill, decided they could not wait another year to protect kids from toxic chemicals.

“This is really an incredible win for children and families in Vermont,” said Paul Burns, Executive Director of VPIRG.  “Under this law, kids in Vermont will soon be better protected from the dangerous toxins used in everything from teething rings to teddy bears.”

Modeled on chemical safety programs already in place in several states, S.239 will:

  • Establish a list of dangerous toxins still used in products (beginning with the list of chemicals of high concern to children currently in use in Washington State),
  • Require businesses that sell children’s products containing one or more of those chemicals to report to the state and pay a small fee, and
  • Give experts at the Vermont Department of Health the authority to regulate the toxins on the list that are used in children’s products.

VPIRG would like to thank our legislative champions for their hard work and dedication; Senator Ginny Lyons, Senator Claire Ayer, Senator Kevin Mullin, Representative David Deen, Representative Willam Jewett, Representative Kate Webb, Representative Ann Pugh and Representative Jill Krowinski.

We also would like to thank our allies on this campaign, especially Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Seventh Generation, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, Vermont Conservation Voters and the Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont.

Last but not least, a big thanks to all of the VPIRG members who made calls, wrote letters and emails, came to events and helped us spread the word about this critical issue, we couldn’t have done it without you.

For some media coverage of the final passage of S.239, check out the links below.
http://digital.vpr.net/post/toxics-bill-resurrected-after-snafus-nearly-spell-doom
http://vtdigger.org/2014/05/09/toxic-chemicals-bill-passed/
http://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/37049-Seventh-Generation-Congratulates-Vermont-Government-on-Passing-Bill-S-239-for-Toxic-Substances-Reform