Wednesday, December 24, 2008
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Illinois legislation further protects children from lead in toys

Also prohibits the sale of cosmetic items containing mercury

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[December 24, 2008]  CHICAGO -- On Tuesday, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation imposing more stringent restrictions on the sale of children's products containing lead, further protecting the health of Illinois' children. Senate Bill 2860 imposes requirements on children's products such as jewelry intended for children under 12 years of age; products used in the care, relaxation or feeding of children under 6 years of age; and toys intended for children under 12 years of age and having paint on the outside in smaller amounts of lead than addressed under the current Lead Poisoning Prevention Act.

The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Mattie Hunter, D-Chicago, and state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Champaign, and amends the current act by prohibiting the sale of certain children's products that contain a total lead content in any component part that is between 40 parts per million and 600 parts per million, unless that item contains a warning statement that indicates that at least one component part of that item contains lead.

The Lead Poisoning Prevention Act was passed by the General Assembly in 1973 to set mandatory screening and reporting requirements. Before the governor signed the new bill, the 1973 act banned the sale of toys with more than 600 parts per million of lead.

Lead poisoning can affect almost every system in the body, causing learning disabilities, shortened attention span, behavioral problems and, in extreme cases, seizure, coma or even death.

Senate Bill 2860 also amends the Mercury-Added Product Prohibition Act to prohibit anyone from distributing or selling any cosmetics, toiletries or fragrances containing mercury to Illinoisans. The bill also requires that any Illinois manufacturer must disclose the level of mercury in any cosmetics, toiletries or fragrances to be sold outside the state.

Mercury is toxic to humans, even in small doses, by affecting the central nervous system, kidneys and liver. Mercury exposure can affect a person's ability to feel, see, hear, taste and move.

While the law goes into effect July 1, 2009, the bill's labeling requirements become effective Jan. 1, 2010.

[Text from file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information; LDN staff]


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