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November 19, 2008

MADIGAN'S PUSH TO GET THE LEAD OUT OF ILLINOIS MOVES TO GOVERNOR'S DESK AFTER AMENDMENT PASSES SENATE

New Law Would Require Consumer Notices of Lead Levels
in Children's Products

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced that the Illinois Senate unanimously passed her office's amendment to the Illinois Lead Poisoning Prevention Act to require lead warning statements on children's products containing lead levels that exceed those recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the amendment earlier this year.

Senate Bill 2860, which was drafted and pushed by Attorney General Madigan and sponsored by Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) and Representatives Harry Osterman (D-Chicago) and Naomi Jakobsson (D-Urbana), now moves to the Governor for his signature. If signed, the new law will become effective on January 1, 2010.

"This legislation would give parents the critical information they need to make informed decisions about children's products and to protect their children from lead poisoning," Attorney General Madigan said.

This legislation requires manufacturers to include warning labels on children's products that contain more than 40 parts per million (ppm) lead including:

  • Jewelry made for or marketed to children under the age of 12;
  • Child care products designed for or intended for use by the manufacturer to help the sleep, relaxation or feeding of children under the age of six; and
  • Toys with surface paint designed for or intended for use by children under the age of 12.

"Nothing is more important that the safety of our children and advancing the hard work of Attorney General Madigan in the area of product labeling for lead was a top priority of mine during this session," said Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago).

Madigan's efforts were supported by a broad coalition of organizations and professional associations including the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Illinois State Medical Society, Kids in Danger, Voices for Illinois Children, the Illinois Maternal & Child Health Coalition and the Chicago Medical Legal Partnership for Children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has found that lead exposure during childhood can significantly damage brain development in children under 12 and therefore recommends that children's products contain less than 40 ppm lead. Madigan said that since January 2007, more than 24 million children's products were recalled for excessive lead levels.

"I commend Attorney General Madigan for her efforts in pushing this important legislation which will enable Illinois parents to better protect their children," said Rep. Harry Osterman. "Together, we will diligently continue our efforts to keep Illinois kids safe from lead poisoning."

"As a mother and grandmother, I want to know what is in the children's products that I buy. Parents should have the right to know whether lead is present in the toys and jewelry they buy their children," Rep. Naomi Jakobsson said. "The passage of SB 2860 is a tremendous step towards reducing childhood lead poisoning in Illinois children."

In the past year, Attorney General Madigan's office has tested more than 58 children's products, including toys, jewelry, bibs and lunch boxes, that contain lead levels higher than 40 ppm but less than 600 ppm. Attorney General Madigan's office enforces the Illinois Lead Poisoning Prevention Act, which prohibits the sale of toys, clothing, jewelry or any other products intended for use by children that contain lead in excess of 600 parts per million. The Act is among the strongest lead laws in the nation. Based on the findings of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Madigan drafted the warning label bill to make sure parents can easily learn when a product has more than 40 ppm but less than 600 ppm lead.

As part of her continual efforts to protect consumers from unsafe products, Attorney General Madigan sponsors a recall hotline at 1-888-414-7678 to help callers identify recalled products in their homes and explain how to contact companies to repair or return affected products. Attorney General Madigan also publishes the Safe Shopping Guide, a 91-page color directory of hundreds of recalled children's products. Free copies are available at the Attorney General's main and regional offices and via mail by calling the hotline at 1-888-414-7678. Consumers may also download a copy from the Attorney General's Web site at www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov.

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