Regulation to Promote Children’s Environmental Health in North Carolina: A Case Study of the Toxic Free Kids Act

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Jeff Unsicker


North Carolina’s political environment has shifted drastically toward policies promoting deregulation, elimination of human services, and a laissez-faire economy in the past decade. This dramatic shift was, in part, caused by a super majority of an extremely conservative Republican Party in both houses of the North Carolina General Assembly, a Republican governor, a growing Tea Party, and uncompromising political platforms. However, there is a growing movement of passionate, marginalized communities that are joining together to push back in non-traditional ways. One area of focus was the need to ensure children’s health and safety in North Carolina through the implementation of common sense, fact-based policy. In order to succeed, however, it would take a broad based coalition of organizations and advocates that represent a wide array of issues from children’s health, to environmentalists, to disability rights, to grassroots parent organizers.

My organization, Toxic Free NC, joined this fight toward protecting children’s environmental health by helping to build a coalition of organizations referred to as the NC Coalition for Environmental Health. The coalition then drew on its members and partner organizations to work toward environmental health policy in the 2015 legislative session. This capstone examines a case study of the development, filing, advocacy, and strategy to pass the Toxic Free Kids Act (NC Senate Bill 81) that would prohibit the selling or distribution of children’s products that contain predetermined levels of Bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, and Tris flame retardants in North Carolina. Furthermore, it examines the lessons learned from the advocacy process and how those lessons will inform future work toward a safer and healthier North Carolina.

Keywords: toxics; health; advocacy; children; North Carolina; environ


Inorganic Chemicals

This document is currently not available here.