Albany Co. legislature passes Toxic Toy Act

ALBANY, N.Y. – The Albany County Legislature passed the Toxic Toy Act Monday night.

Bobbi Chase Wilding is a mother of two. Christmas shopping for her is like a game of roulette.

“Is the toy that you pick up off the store shelf going to be the one that is toxic?” she asked. “I couldn’t tell. How is a parent who just wants to do the right thing for their kid going to know?”

Wilding said her organization, Clean & Healthy New York, tested hundreds of toys sold locally and found a dozen containing toxic chemicals. She and other advocates urged Albany County legislators to pass Local Law J that would ban the sale of toys with dangerous chemicals.

Clean & Healthy New York said parents can’t be sure if a toy is safe just by looking at them. At least one of the toys tested by the organization came back positive for arsenic.

Opponents from the Toy Industry Association called the law a fiscal burden and argued the tests give false positives.

“So if you have a negative reading, you can be sure of that,” David Garriepy with the Toy Industry Association, Inc. said. “A positive reading needs additional follow up in order to ensure there exactly is a reading.”

But the legislature voted 34-4 to pass the Toxic Toy Act. The bill’s sponsor Bryan Clenahan said the law is vital to protect children.

“You know to be honest, it’s an environmental justice issue as well because most parents can’t really – a lot of parents – can’t really afford to find or buy products that are guaranteed toxic free,” he said.

Toys will need to be tested regularly. Clenahan said the Albany County Department of Health will help enforce the law through multiple ways, including investigating stores that could have toxic toys on the shelves.

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