Opinion: Lawmakers acted on families’ concerns about toxins

Let us all thank Rep. Willem Jewett and Sen. Claire Ayer for their hard work and leadership resulting in the passage of the Toxic-Free Families Act (S.239) this session.
Many substances found in commonly used consumer products are toxic to us and may be especially toxic to very young children and pregnant women. Congress’ failure to pass a replacement for the already weak and badly outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1979 has left a void that other states have started to try to fill.
Most of us cannot take the time to research and understand the long lists of substances present in every consumer product we bring into the home. A few years ago, we started to draw the line on a substance-by-substance basis, and now with the passage of S.239, which the governor has promised to sign, we are building a broader framework to protect our families.
This act will lay the groundwork to ensure the safety of Vermont’s children for years to come — S.239 requires manufacturers to report to the Vermont Department of Health the presence in children’s products of any of the 67 chemicals listed in the bill, and allows the commissioner to add to this list over time. To discourage manufacturers from including these substances in their products, an annual reporting fee of $200 for each listed chemical present is one of the bill’s requirements.
Rep. Jewett and Sen. Ayer worked tirelessly throughout the session to lead the Toxic Free Families Act (S. 239) to passage. Protecting children from dangerous and unnecessary toxic chemicals seems so simple and reasonable, but industry threw roadblocks in the way every week, and I thank Rep. Willem Jewett and Sen. Claire Ayer for sticking to the goal and overcoming the obstacles, resulting in the strongest protection children have from toxic substances in any state of the union. We should be proud of their hard work and leadership.
Again, thank you.
Deborah Gaynor

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