Jan. 8, 2009 – Toys and other children's products containing small amounts of lead will be required to have a warning label about the potentially toxic substance under a measure Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed Tuesday.
NBVA SAFETY BULLETIN
Toys and other children's products containing small amounts of lead will be required to have a warning label about the potentially toxic substance under a measure Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed Tuesday, giving Illinois what advocates say is one of the strongest protection laws in the country.
The measure, which officials say was inspired by a Tribune investigation, focuses on three areas viewed as among the most problematic: children's jewelry, toys with surface paint and baby items.
State law already bans the sale of toys with more than 600 parts per million of lead, and the new measure is aimed at informing parents about smaller, legal traces of lead that health officials warn still could be dangerous.
Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, whose office drafted the legislation and pushed for its passage, said it should serve as a model for other states and the federal government. In a statement, Madigan said the law "will give parents critical information they need to make informed decisions about consumer products to protect their children from lead poisoning."
Beginning Jan. 1, 2010, the labels must be attached to toys, jewelry and other children's products that contain more than 40 parts per million of lead.
Manufacturers would be required to put warning labels on jewelry made for or marketed to children younger than 12, as well as on toys with surface paint designed for children in that same age group. Pacifiers, teething rings, sippy cups and similar products designed for use by children younger than 6 also would need to carry the warning.
The toy industry fought the measure, but it received wide support in the General Assembly.
Lead exposure can be extremely dangerous, especially for children. It can affect almost every system in the body, causing learning disabilities and behavioral problems, and, in extreme cases, it can lead to seizures, coma or death.
"Parents don't always have the time to read labels and see what the ingredients are," said Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), the bill's sponsor. "They are running into stores, maybe they only have a few minutes, maybe they have a screaming child with them.
"This will allow them to simply pick up a toy and see immediately whether it contains lead."
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