The Environment Committee approved a bill Monday that would help reduce the number of toxic chemicals in children’s toys available in Connecticut.
The bill would establish a list of chemicals of “high concern to children’s health and development” based on the likelihood that children will come in contact with them.
The list would be assembled by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection using lists of “chemicals of high concern” already maintained by the World Health Organization, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as lists maintained by other states.
The DEP would also have to consult with the commissioners of the Department of Consumer Protection and the Department of Public Health.
Sen. John McKinney, R-Fairfield, voiced support for an amendment introduced by Rep. Clark Chapin, R-New Milford, that would also require Environmental Protection Department to consult with the Department of Economic and Community Development. Keeping business in the state is the “elephant in the room,” McKinney said.
Rep. Diana Urban, D-North Stonington, said that while she understood the economic concerns, the bill would “get to the market from both sides.” Developmental delays in children, she said, are “real costs” even if they are “farther down the road.”
The amendment failed during a voice vote, but Republicans continued to voice concern for the state’s economy. McKinney wanted to know whether the bill’s language would also prohibit the manufacture of “chemicals of high concern” or products with those chemicals in the state of Connecticut.
Rep. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, said that it was her intention in helping to draft the legislation to prohibit the manufacturing and sale of such chemicals in the state.
McKinney asked whether the General Assembly should be deciding what’s good for children in other states. He added that a company that employs people and pays taxes in Connecticut should not have to leave the state if all they are doing is manufacturing the chemical to be sold outside the state.
Bye said she had spoken with manufacturers to address their concerns and would continue to work on the bill.
The Environment Committee also delayed action until Friday on two pieces of legislation. The first bill would have banned outdoor wood furnaces for half the year, but the co-chair of the committee, Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford, said they will be adding language to the bill to create a permitting process for municipalities instead of a state mandate.
The second bill would reduce the recent increases in fees for hunting and fishing. Meyer said that language will be added that would also reduce the fees for admission to state parks.