Suffolk legislators unanimously pass Toxin Free Toys Act

Suffolk County lawmakers unanimously passed the Toxin Free Toys Act Tuesday evening.

The act prohibits retailers from selling toys found to have high levels of toxins like lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium and cobalt.

Experts say those chemicals can cause a host of health problems, including developmental disorders and cancers. Retailers will be subject to random spot testing by a health inspector using an X-ray florescence analyzer.

"The bill calls for quarterly inspections of 10 locations and no more than 10 products at each location," says Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn.

Shop owners will be able to voluntarily pull banned products before facing any penalties. However, a coalition of toy companies, manufacturers and retailers insists children's toys are safe. The group already challenged a similar law in Albany and is prepared to do the same in Suffolk.

"Almost all of these substances are already regulated under federal law," said Rick Locker, of the Safe to Play Coalition.

However, according to a 2014 report, toys on Long Island shelves are still being found to contain heavy metals.

The bill also called for six months of education for manufacturers and retailers before those spot inspections begin. Anyone that continues to sell the banned products after being told they violate the law would face fines of $500 and $1,000.

The bill now goes to County Executive Steve Bellone for his signature within the next 30 days.

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