Who knew a toy could be toxic? Every day, kids across New York are playing with and sucking on thousands of products and toys that contain toxic chemicals. These products are sold at major retailers and neighborhood stores, putting children at risk of a host of medical conditions, including autism, behavioral problems and learning disabilities, with the possibility of cancer, especially breast cancer, later in life.

These dangerous products are not yet regulated by the state, but that will hopefully soon change with the consideration of the Child Safe Products Act in the State Legislature, as well as Suffolk County's consideration of companion legislation, the Toxin Free Toys Act.

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The Child Safe Products Act would require manufacturers to disclose chemicals of concern to children's health -- such as lead, mercury and arsenic -- when they are used in toys, clothing, car seats and other children's products. Parents could then make informed choices. As the program coordinator for the Babylon Breast Cancer Coalition's elementary school education program, "Be Smart About Your Health," I believe our children deserve to be worry-free, instead of playing now and paying for it later.

Beverly Flaherty, Copiague