Toy Makers Oppose R.I. Safety Bill

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff

PROVIDENCE — A lobbyist representing Hasbro and other toy makers made it clear he didn't like a proposed state law (pdf) banning lead, cadmium and mercury from toys and other children's products.

During a Senate hearing March 28, Andy Hackman of the Toy Industry Association said he had "strong concerns" about the legislation.

The lead sponsor of the bill, Sen. Dominick Ruggerio, D-North Providence/Providence, was not at the hearing. Ruggerio, 63, was arrested early Wednesday in Barrington on suspicion for drunken driving.

Hackman told the Committee on the Environment and Agriculture that federal regulations currently cover the rules regarding toxic metals. "We in the toy industry have been regulated already," he said.

Hackman also noted that he was working with Ruggerio to change the bill. The bill would eliminate cadmium, lead and mercury from the following items for children younger than 12: toys, jewelry, clothing and accessories, decorative objects, backpacks, candy, food, chewable items, dietary items and furniture.

The committee voted to hold the bill until a later hearing date. A related bill (pdf) requiring children's jewelry to conform to the standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials also was held to a later date.