The Sierra Club North Star Chapter is a supporting organization of the Healthy Legacy coalition. Healthy Legacy is a public health coalition representing over one million Minnesotans that are dedicated to safe products, made safely. Founded by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and Clean Water Action, our coalition is comprised of 36 diverse organizations. We educate consumers, work with leading businesses and promote protective polices.
Now that we know the toxic chemicals our children are being exposed to everyday in the products they use, we must take the next step in 2013. The Minnesota Department of Health has identified nine highly dangerous chemicals used in children’s products – formaldehyde, BPA, lead, cadmium, three phthalates and two flame retardants. To ensure our children are not exposed to cancer-causing, neurotoxic, and other health harming chemicals, we must insist children’s products are free of these chemicals. The Toxic Free Kids Act of 2013 requires all manufacturers of products for children under 12 years old being sold in Minnesota must phase out the use of these nine chemicals over the next few years and not substitute it with another chemical known to be just as dangerous.
Did you know formaldehyde is probably in your children’s shampoo? Most people don’t and looking at the label won’t help you because it’s not listed as an ingredient. But if the shampoo, soap, lotion or any other personal care product your child uses has quanternium-15, they are being exposed to the carcinogen formaldehyde. That’s because quanternium-15 breaks down into formaldehyde. This toxic chemical and any chemical that breaks down into formaldehyde should not be in a child’s personal care product. We will be working on policy requiring personal care products intended for children under 12 years old be formaldehyde free within a year.
Minnesota became a national leader in 2009 banning BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups. Unfortunately, BPA is still in many of the products our children use, namely food packaging such as canned food, baby food jar lids and some baby formula. This policy would require manufacturers to stop using BPA in all food packaging intended for children under 12 years old within a year. Manufacturers would be prohibited from substituting BPA with another chemical known to be just as dangerous.