Regulation of Toxic Chemical in Children's Products (A.8266/S.1454-A)

Date: 2017

A.8266 Englebright/S.1454-A Avella

MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION

Unshackle Upstate, a non-partisan, pro-taxpayer, pro-economic growth, education and advocacy coalition made up of business and trade organizations from Upstate New York opposes the enactment of the aforementioned legislation. 

This bill would require New York State to regulate a wide range of children’s products, and to create and maintain a list of “priority chemicals” and “chemicals of concern,” which will ultimately lead to the ban of certain chemicals in particular applications.  The bill would also impose new reporting requirements and fees that every manufacturer of children’s products that contains a “priority chemical” would be forced to adhere to. 

We have a number of concerns regarding the enactment of new state regulations relating to consumer products.  Congress has determined, via the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that any such evaluation and management of chemicals should be undertaken at the federal level, and that all such efforts should be supported by peer-reviewed, science-based determinations. In fact, this federal law was recently updated to require the EPA to evaluate existing chemicals based on a risk-based safety standard.  Further, the EPA has been provided with the funding to carry out these responsibilities.  In contrast, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has neither the resources nor the expertise to carry out this proposal.

Rather than imposing new laws and regulations, the state should be looking to move in the opposite direction – carefully reviewing existing laws to ensure that they are not unduly burdening the State's economy by imposing unnecessary costs and mandates on the businesses, local governments and people of New York.

This particular proposal would create uncertainty for more than 1,400 chemical manufacturing employees throughout the state by requiring companies to comply with yet another regulatory program among an already crowded patchwork of state laws. 

According to the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry represents nine percent of total manufacturing employment and 24 percent of the state’s overall manufacturing shipments.  Many of these sites are located in Upstate New York, in communities that are in desperate need of economic activity.  In addition, from 2006 to 2011, chemistry production shipments in New York State declined 27 percent.

We are also concerned that the sponsors have not provided any fiscal analysis showing what this legislation will cost state taxpayers.  The sponsor’s memorandum in support indicates that the bill’s fiscal implications would be “none,” which seems impossible given the responsibilities that the legislation would impose on the Department of Environmental Conservation.  Before any action is taken to advance this bill through the legislative process, we urge the sponsors to provide a more detailed analysis as to the bill’s cost to state taxpayers.

Over the past several years, the Governor and Legislature have worked tirelessly to lower taxes and help the state’s businesses thrive.  Legislation of this nature, with its unknown costs and significant impacts to businesses, threaten to undermine that progress. 

For these reasons, Unshackle Upstate opposes the enactment of this legislation.