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US Apparel Companies Oppose Bill Regulating Chemicals in Children’s Apparel

United States apparel companies have joined forces in opposition of a proposed bill in Rockland County, New York, Referral No. 8894, banning certain chemicals in children’s apparel, claiming it is duplicative of an existing federal law regulating children’s products.

A group including the American Apparel and Footwear Association, American Chemistry Council, U.S. Fashion Industry Association and the New York Chemistry Council, among others, sent a letter urging Rockland County Executive Ed Day to veto the bill.

“While well-intentioned, this legislation would duplicate regulations already in place for children’s products at the federal level under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), and the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FSHA),” the letter read. “Duplication of existing regulations will produce an unnecessary burden on manufacturers and retailers while being devoid of a measurable increase in safety.”

The letter also said that existing restrictions included in the CPSA and the FHSA do not allow state and localities to enact different requirements to address the same issue, describing the law as unnecessary and legally questionable. Further, the bill will not improve the safety of children’s products or children, according to the letter.

The signatories emphasized the belief that assessing product safety is more than simply noting the presence of a chemical substance in a formulation. It must include considerations of product use, user exposure to the chemical and the functionality of the chemical in the formulation. It should also include the consequences of the removal of a chemical from a product.

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“With this proposed legislation lacking such consideration, the process would only add uncertainty for New York businesses and would force companies to comply with yet another state regulatory program among an already crowded patchwork of state laws,” the letter noted.

It would be impossible for any company to comply to the bill because it would ban naturally occurring elements that cannot be take out of products and that imposing these regulations on manufacturers and retailers could negatively affect jobs without any increase in consumer safety, according to the letter.

The group is calling for the nation’s federal chemicals management law to be updated to be aligned with scientific advancements and to ensure that chemical products are safe, while also encouraging innovation and protecting jobs. The organizations are also pushing for the introduction and passage of the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), described as a sensible, balanced compromise that will promote safety, innovation, economic growth and job creation.