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Posted on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 7:02 p.m.

Ann Arbor lawmaker introducing legislation to crack down on toxic toys in Michigan

By Ryan J. Stanton

Toxic toys in Michigan? No way.

During a news conference with the Michigan Network for Children's Environmental Health, state Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, announced plans to introduce new legislation to protect children from toxic chemicals in toy products.

The Safe Children's Products Act would require the state to create a list of chemicals of concern in children’s products. It also would require toy importers and large manufactures to disclose the presence of chemicals of greatest concern in their children's products.


Rebekah Warren

"Michigan families deserve the right-to-know about toxic chemicals in children’s products," Warren said in a statement. "The Safe Children’s Products Act will give families the information they need to avoid children’s products with harmful chemicals."

Parents, health professionals and community leaders gathered at the state Capitol on Tuesday to urge support of the legislation.

Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw, also announced the introduction of legislation to ban cadmium and mercury, toxic heavy metals that have been found in children’s jewelry and toys.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers cadmium a probable human carcinogen. Both mercury and cadmium can impair normal brain and nervous system development.

"All too often children's products contain hazardous chemicals that have been linked to diseases and disorders such as cancer, reproductive problems, and learning disabilities," Joyce Stein, a registered nurse and a member of the Michigan Nurses Association, said in a statement. "Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals."

The Michigan Network for Children's Environmental Health is a coalition of health professional, health-affected and environmental organizations from across the state. It is backed by toy store owners, health professionals and families committed to protecting Michigan's children from toxic chemical exposure, according to Jennifer Canvasser, an environmental health organizer at the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center who is working with the organization.

Toy safety testing is among a wide range of services provided by NSF International, a not-for-profit company that employs about 450 workers at its headquarters in Ann Arbor Township.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.



Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

These pieces of legislation are a great first step to protecting our children's health. Thank you Senator Warren and Senator Kahn! It's important that we protect our families, and especially our children, from toxic chemicals that are overwhelmingly present in the products we use daily. There is NO reason to have toxic chemicals in our children's toys and other children's products; we've seen that the same toys can and are made without toxins. This legislation will help us to protect children's vulnerable developing bodies from harmful chemicals by giving us the information we need to be informed consumers. Although I wish this legislation would require more regulation or banning of these harmful chemicals rather than just requiring manufacturers to report their use of toxins, it is a good starting point and will give us some of the information we need to reduce our exposure. I hope this legislation passes!

Ron Granger

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 8:30 p.m.

How will this expansion of government be FUNDED?


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 4:43 p.m.

Oh, goodie! As a service to this community's busy pediatricians and public health services clinics, I've prepared a handy list of the toxic ingredients in your best-selling children's product. No need to thank me. I'm only sorry I can only post the first third of the list, due to limitations placed in posting by Acel-Immune DTaP - Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Wyeth-Ayerst 800.934.5556 * diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis adsorbed, formaldehyde, aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, mercury, and polysorbate 80 (Tween-80) gelatin Act HIB Haemophilus - Influenza B Connaught Laboratories 800.822.2463 , polyribosylribitol phosphate ammonium sulfate, formalin, and sucrose Attenuvax - Measles Merck & Co., Inc. 800-672-6372 * measles live virus neomycin sorbitol hydrolized gelatin, chick embryo DPT - Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis GlaxoSmithKline 800.366.8900-5231 * diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis adsorbed, formaldehyde, aluminum phosphate, ammonium sulfate, and mercury, washed sheep RBCs Recombinant Hepatitis B GlaxoSmithKline * genetic sequence of the hepatitis B virus that codes for the surface antigen (HbSAg), cloned into GMO yeast, aluminum hydroxide, and mercury Fluvirin Medeva Pharmaceuticals 888.MEDEVA 716.274.5300 * influenza virus, neomycin, polymyxin, beta-propiolactone, chick embryonic fluid FluShield Wyeth-Ayerst 800.934.5556 * trivalent influenza virus, types A&B gentamicin sulphate formadehyde, mercury, and polysorbate 80 (Tween-80) chick embryonic fluid HiB Titer - Haemophilus Influenza B Wyeth-Ayerst 800.934.5556 * haemophilus influenza B, polyribosylribitol phosphate, yeast, ammonium sulfate, mercury, and chemically defined yeast-based medium MMR - Measles-Mumps-Rubella Merck & Co., Inc. 800.672.6372 * measles, mumps, rubella live virus, neomycin sorbitol, hydrolized gelatin, chick embryonic fluid, and human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue

Meghan Myers

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.

If the Consumer Product Safety Commission is already regulating our goods, then why are our children still playing with toys laced with cadmium and mercury? We've already helped to reduce the amount of lead in toys and given that everybody knows how dangerous cadmium and mercury are, there is no reason they should be in any product - especially ones that developing children are coming in contact with. I support Senator Warren and Senator Kahn in their efforts to protect the families of Michigan, and will continue to do so.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:53 p.m.

This is what we pay our legislators to do? The state is crumbling around them and they're thinking about toys and how to put more regulations on toymakers?


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

Let's see, more redundant legislation. Which state agency is going to be responsible for enforcing this and how exactly is it going to be paid for. Another piece of nonsense designed to look good in the press and then it will quitely disappear into the trash can of other unfunded mandates. Democratic legislation at its best, a farce.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:50 a.m.

The truly sad part is that despite Warren's mediocre political career so far she'd still be elected and reelected by the Lotus Eaters of the People's Republic of Ann Arbor for decades (like Bullard, Pollack, et. al.) were it not for term limits.

David Briegel

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:34 a.m.

You right wingers crack me up. China recently Executed an executive who knowingly sold poisoned products. You folks not only want that to continue selling poison but you are damning the people attempting to stop selling POISON to our children and grandchildren! Environmentalists are evil and corporate Criminals are noble saints. When did my country turn in to this monstrosity? You folks certainly do have high standards and values. Wow. Just Wow!


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:55 p.m.



Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 1:59 a.m.

I am so appreciative of Senator Warren working on this issue. There are so many toxic chemicals in so many of our products it's overwhelming - from flame retardants in our furniture, formaldehyde in our homes, and phthalates in our cleaning supplies. The very least we can do is better ensure our children's toys and products are safer. Thank you Senator Warren for working to protect our health!

David Briegel

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:36 a.m.

Literally, "The Food We Feed Our Children Is The Cause Of Their Disease!


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 1:38 a.m.

I applaud Senator Warren for this and think it should be expanded to dog toys. I had some of my dog's toys tested recently and all the brightly-colored tennis balls I had, that were marketed as dog toys, contained lead.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 1:03 p.m.

David; You own a dog? If so, you know what they eat. A tennis ball is pretty tame compared to what they find in the backyard or bathroom wastebasket.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 4 a.m.

"And djacks thinks it is ok to poison his pets! Wow!" Last I've heard, pets poisoned by toxic toys isn't an epidemic. Give a dog or cat rawhide if your so worried about toxic toys and get on with worrying about real problems.

David Briegel

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:37 a.m.

And djacks thinks it is ok to poison his pets! Wow!


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:08 a.m.

You've got to be toys? There are people that can't feed their families, but your worried about our lawmakers overseeing safe dog toys?


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 1:03 a.m.

You have got to be kidding us Rebekah, have you nothing better to do with your time. Enforce the current laws and quit wasting our time. Good Day


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 1:19 a.m.

I hope you voiced the same concern when the partial birth abortion legislation was intorduced. That was redundant as well, since the feds have it on the books already.

Ron Granger

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 12:46 a.m.

So what does this mean to a local toy importer who sells toys out of a shop? Things like wooden drums, xylophones, etc? How much does it add to the cost and complexity of their simple business?


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 1:01 p.m.

Cinnabar; It's easy, Ron's shop is a business. Businesses and especially if they are organized as a corporation are evil (unless the corporation is Zingermans or Whole Foods, maybe Trader Joe's), therefore Ron's shop and by extension Ron is evil as well. Logic, my man, simple logic.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 12:09 p.m.

David how do you make the leap from Ron's question to him wanting to sell poison toys to kids?

David Briegel

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:39 a.m.

Just keep selling your poisoned products.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 12:28 a.m.

Hey Rebekah, try using some of this constructive energy for something like create jobs?


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 11:46 p.m.

This is ludicrous. The Consumer Product Safety Commission in Washington D.C. already promulgates complex safety rules with respect to all consumer goods, including toys. There is no need for this redundant legislation. Think of something more constructive to work on, Senator Warren.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 12:28 a.m.

Ann, what you say is ridiculous. Everyone knows that excessive regulation doesn't hurt business, that's just a right wing talking point from the Chamber of Commerce with no basis in fact. Also, regulation has nothing to do with employment, as was proved by the company you used to work for.....used for. OK, never mind. but corporations are still evil.

Ann English

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 12:12 a.m.

So it was federal legislation that hurt my former workplace; I think it was last year we heard that if something we sold was a toy, we couldn't use nylon vinyl mesh for it, such as bowling backstops. Nylon similar or identical to that for clothing was substituted, but I couldn't sew that kind of material as well, so I lost the privilege of making the backstops and rolling exercise equipment carted bags. I think the environmentalists also affected some of the gym mats we sewed. State Senator Warren wouldn't take any of the blame if such redundant legislation, signed into law,, would hasten the demise of the whole company I used to work for.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 11:25 p.m.

You mean now they are going to do something about it???...

Ann English

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 11:44 p.m.

Environmentalists already have taken away the freedom to use nylon vinyl mesh for bowling backstops and mesh carts for exercise equipment where I used to work. This sounds like redundant legislation.