Enforcement Delayed for Suffolk County’s “Toxic Free Toys Act”

December 2, 2016 | The Toy Industry Association (TIA) has learned that enforcement has been delayed for the Toxic Free Toys Act of 2015, a law banning and criminalizing the sale of federally-compliant toys and children’s products within Suffolk County, New York.  

On November 29, the county’s Federal District Court ordered a stay of enforcement of the law, pending a court decision regarding a lawsuit filed by the Safe to Play Coalition in September.  Due to the stay, there cannot be any enforcement leveled against federally compliant products – and the Suffolk County retailers that sell them – unless allowed by the court. The County Attorney has also indicated that they are in discussions with the Department of Health Services to ensure that Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) accredited laboratories are used for future enforcements, as stated in the lawsuit and required under federal law.

The Coalition’s lawsuit alleges that the Toxic Free Toys Act of 2015 is unnecessary, ineffective and illegal because it bans and criminalizes the sale of toys and children’s products that meet federal safety laws under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) and the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), including the heavy metal limits already set forth in the federally-mandated ASTM F963 Toy Safety Standard. The law also violates the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution. The Coalition’s lawsuit reaffirms the safety of toys sold in the county – and across the country – and asks for the law to be declared unconstitutional.

The Suffolk County Health Department previously indicated that it would enforce the Toxic Free Toys Act by educating local retailers and conducting planned spot-check inspections of 10 local businesses. The suit was filed in order to ensure that the county a) fully adheres to federal and state requirements, exclusions and test methods, b) will only rely upon CPSC-accredited laboratories, and c) will not arbitrarily pull safe, federally compliant toys and children’s products off store shelves.

The Safe to Play Coalition is an alliance representing hundreds of small U.S.-based sellers of toys and children’s products that meet stringent U.S. safety standards.  A similar lawsuit was filed by the Coalition last year against Albany County, which resulted in a court-stipulated stay of enforcement by the county as it seeks to comply with federal requirements.

Members are encouraged to contact TIA’s Owen Caine (202.459.0361) with any questions or concerns about this matter. TIA will keep members apprised of developments.