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A Bill that Goes Beyond "Getting the Lead Out"

January 30, 2008

Boston, MA – Geting the lead out is a priority in Massachusetts, where the state Senate has passed a bill to phase harmful chemicals out of products made in the state. The Safer Alternatives Bill would require manufacturers to replace toxic chemicals with a safer alternative if there is one. If there isn't a known alternative, the company will get a waiver, and the research process will begin to find a replacement.

Efforts to pass the bill gained momentum after high-profile product recalls of toys and lipstick last year. Bill sponsor Senator Steven Tolman says the problem is more widespread, and the bill is a win for the environment and consumers.

"There is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the most forward-thinking, consumer-friendly, health initiatives that we could ever take in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."

Supporters say the bill will also expand trade between Massachusetts and foreign countries, including some in the European Union, which have much stricter requirements on toxics. The bill now goes to the House.

Tolman says legislators re-worked the original bill to ease some concerns from businesses, and offer assistance to help them make the switch.

"We are not looking to put anybody out of business. We are looking to work with businesses in order to make safer products."

Tolman says if the bill works he'd expect to see something similar passed on the federal level.

Kevin Clay, Public News Service - MA