thenewstribune.com Posted online at 8:01 p.m. Friday The state Senate overwhelmingly approved a measure Friday that outlaws toys containing certain levels of toxins, overcoming objections by opponents who said it effectively steals Christmas and sales tax income.
The “toxic toys” bill bans lead, cadmium and phthalates in children’s products above certain levels. It also requires toy companies to report chemicals in their products to the Department of Ecology, and allows the department to deem other chemicals harmful.
The Senate approved House Bill 2647 on a 40-9 vote in Olympia. Since the Senate made changes to the measure, it goes back to the House, which passed it unanimously earlier in the session.
Sen. Eric Oemig, D-Kirkland, said he supported the bill, even though it didn’t include an amendment he proposed requiring that parents be notified if mercury-containing preservatives were used in vaccines.
He said the bill would end his family’s struggle to find toys that are suitable for their children.
Lead can affect neurological development in small quantities. It is limited in paint, but used commonly as an additive to plastics and metals. Cadmium has been known to cause cancer, and phthalates are a hormone disrupter that, in high enough quantities, can cause genital birth defects.
About 80 percent of toys tested recently by the Washington Toxics Coalition would pass standards set out under the bill.
Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Moses Lake, said the bill would quash Christmas in Washington state because the big toy companies wouldn’t ship their toys here.
He also said he was wary of a clause in the bill that allowed the Department of Ecology to determine other chemicals to be banned.
Sen. Jenae Holmquist, R-Moses Lake, said parents would order toys online or shop in neighboring states in order to get the toys they wanted. She said it could cost the state tens of millions of dollars in sales tax.
Similar concerns – and nearly two dozen amendments to the bill and three high-paid lobbyists who have been working on the bill for the past three weeks – threatened to kill the bill on Thursday. But the bill’s supporters rallied for the vote.
Niki Sullivan: 360-754-6093