My name is Tommy Mutell and I just started working at CHEJ’s New York City office as an intern last month. Last Tuesday I was given the opportunity to participate in a flyering event alongside about forty other people organized by the JustGreen Partnership to bring awareness to the nation-wide lobbying efforts of the Toy Industry Association (TIA) against the discontinuation of harmful chemicals such as BPA, phthalates, and mercury in toys.

TIA claims to have the best interests of its consumers as a primary mission to their association. However, what they say to consumers about toy safety and what they do regarding toy safety legislation and regulations are two different things. Our time at the Toy Fair, an event that attracted tens of thousands of visitors from 92 countries, was spent calling out TIA for their recent lobbying of continued usage of toxic chemicals in toys and other consumer products.

“The Toy Industry Association should stop toying around with our children’s health, and support state and federal efforts to protect children from toxic chemicals in children’s products,” said Mike Schade, Campaign Coordinator with the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ).

The flyering event was really a great learning experience and I received a lot of satisfaction in helping to spread the word to the issues we are working to resolve. It felt like the few dozen of us accomplished the amount of work in about an hour that it would take me alone months to complete. I am learning that our collaborative efforts of flyering and raising awareness are really at the frontline of making an impact and bringing about change, and I am going to continue to work on the discontinuation of toxic chemicals in toys and consumer products in the months to come.  I also enjoyed meeting and working with other interns, staff, and volunteers at different environmental groups within the city, as well as members of NYPIRG, the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, and the Center for Environmental Health to name a few.