Diaper Labeling Bill Passes Assembly

Diaper boxes may be required to list the diaper’s ingredients under legislation approved in the state Assembly this week.

A.43C was approved by a 128-22 vote earlier this week. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-New York City, the bill requires labeling of ingredients on packages or boxes of diapers.

“This bill to require labeling of ingredients on boxes of packages of diapers is really a very simple piece of legislation,” Rosenthal said. “Consumers deserve the right to know what is in the products they purchase. Parents and guardians and caregivers for children need to have the opportunity to decide if they want to buy diapers that have contaminants or if they want to choose diapers that do not and are 100 percent organic. It is simply a transparency measure. However when you talk about manufacturer versus . a baby’s butt, I’d say a baby’s butt should win.”

Rosenthal cited recent research that shows the chemical composition of certain diapers could pose risks to infant health, including a report in the medical journal, Reproductive Toxicology, that suggests the concentration of volatile organic compounds (including methylene chloride, toluene and xylene) in commonly used disposable diapers could be significantly higher than the concentration found in common commercial plastic products.

She proposes a civil penalty of one percent of the manufacturer’s total amount of sales in New York if a diaper manufacturer doesn’t comply.

Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, was among the 22 lawmakers who voted against the legislation. Goodell argued the legislation could increase prices on diapers, which would hurt low-income parents, while also arguing that as consumer protection legislation, the bill doesn’t go far enough, in his opinion.

“Having four kids and now multiple grandkids, I’ve had my share of opportunities to witness the toxicity of the chemicals that are added intentionally after the diaper is applied to the baby,” Goodell said. “It may be a dirty secret to some but the intentionally added products after the diaper has been applied are much much worse than anything the manufacturers could put in from an environmental health and every other aspect, which is why we always tried to dispose of those products as safely and quickly as possible. So I appreciate the sponsor’s concern about what might be in the diaper before it’s applied to the baby, but we know that what is applied afterwards far exceeds it in terms of dangerousness as well as toxicity.”

Companion legislation hasn’t yet been introduced in the state Senate. This is the first time in three attempts Rosenthal’s bill has progressed out of a state Assembly committee to the Assembly floor for a vote.


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