US apparel and chemical groups have opposed a proposed bill in Rockland County, New York, that would ban certain chemicals in children’s apparel.

The letter, addressed to Rockland County Executive Ed Day, and signed by groups including the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), claims that 'Referral No. 8894' is duplicative of existing law regulating children’s products such as the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), and the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FSHA). They say it would establish an "unworkable patchwork of chemical regulations".

"Duplication of existing regulations will produce an unnecessary burden on manufacturers and retailers while being devoid of a measurable increase in safety," they wrote. "Additionally, existing restrictions included in the CPSA and the FHSA prohibit state and localities from enacting different requirements to address the same hazard making this both unnecessary and legally questionable. More importantly, this bill would not improve the safety of children’s products – or children."

The groups pointed out that assessing product safety is more than simply noting the presence of a chemical substance in a formulation, but that it must also include considerations of product use, user exposure to the chemical in the product, and the functionality of the chemical in the formulation, as well as the unintended consequences of removal of a chemical from a product.

"With this proposed legislation lacking such consideration, the process would only add uncertainty for New York businesses and would force companies to comply with yet another state regulatory program among an already crowded patchwork of state laws," they add.

"Language included in the bill would be impossible for any company to comply with because it would ban naturallyoccurring elements that can’t be taken out of products. Imposing these impossible and redundant regulations on manufacturers and retailers could negatively impact jobs without any corresponding increase in consumer safety."

The groups called for US federal chemicals management law to be updated to keep pace with scientific advancements and to ensure chemical products are safe for intended use, while also encouraging innovation and protecting jobs.

"We continue to advocate for action at the federal level, including the introduction and passage of the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA). TSCA is a sensible, balanced compromise that will promote safety, innovation, economic growth, and job creation – four essential goals that are important to all Americans. On behalf of all of our memberships, we urge you to veto Referral No. 8894."