2016-11-09 / Political Page

Kim Unveils ParentPatrol App

New York State Assembly Member Ron Kim (D–Queens) unveiled ParentPatrol, a new app that helps parents and caretakes report inappropriate behavior at kids playgrounds and parks throughout New York City. Kim is the first elected official in New York to create an app to help address a growing public problem.

This app, the first of its kind, was created in response to the recent uptick in the number of reports of inappropriate and illegal behavior at kids playgrounds and parks, including two back-to-back cases of child abuse in July, and a report released by NYC Park Advocates using data provided by the New York Police Department showing major crime in parks, including murders and rapes, has increased 23% over the prior year, even as the overall crime rate in the City has decreased.

Under the Rules & Regulations of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, the Department has the authority to designate “exclusive” areas in New York City parks. Many of these “exclusive” areas have been designated for children-only playgrounds, which prohibit adults unless they are accompanying a child under the age of 12 years. Other “exclusive” areas in New York City parks have been designated for senior citizens 65 years and older, as well as dog runs. Unfortunately, most New Yorkers are unaware of these rules, and they are lightly enforced, Kim explained.

He added that ParentPatrol creates awareness of these safety rules and alerts the proper authorities of any inappropriate or illegal activity in New York City parks and playgrounds. Unlike the City’s 3-1-1 system, ParentPatrol is hyper-localized and engages all community stakeholders, including elected officials and community advocates in order to combat inappropriate activity near children. Notifications to these community stakeholders will help to form permanent solutions to these problems, Kim said.

Kim stated, “ParentPatrol was created to help parents and caretakers maximize the wellbeing of children in New York City’s parks and playgrounds and ensure that these places remain safe, family-friendly environments. The health and safety of our children should be our utmost priority, and ParentPatrol is a tool that will help advance this worthy goal.”

For more information visit www.ParentPatrol.org GIANARIS, PERALTA, DENDEKKER CLEAN UP ROOSEVELT AVE: Senators Michael Gianaris and Jose Peralta, in accordance with Assembly Member Michael DenDekker, called on the New York State Liquor Authority on November 1 to crack down on irresponsible business practices along the entire Roosevelt Avenue. Hoping to improve quality of life for residents on and along the strip and reduce criminal activity, Gianaris, Peralta and DenDekker also called for the imposition of fines on businesses that violate cabaret licensing rules.

MENG TO FDA ELIMINATE UNSAFE COLORANTS FROM FEMININE HYGIENE COSMETICS: Congressmember Grace Meng (D–Queens) today wrote to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf urging him to remove potentially harmful colorants from feminine hygiene cosmetics.

Presently, Meng said, the FDA considers feminine hygiene cosmetics – such as feminine washes – to be “externally applied” products, a designation which allows manufacturers to include colorants that are only approved for external use. But since most women use feminine hygiene cosmetics internally, they risk suffering from negative health effects that the colorants may cause.

“Many women have complained of skin irritation, rashes, and other side effects from using feminine cosmetic items that contain colorants,” said Meng. “That is why the FDA must require makers of these products to eliminate colorants that stand to do harm. Women should no longer be putting potentially harmful chemicals into their bodies.”

Meng’s letter follows a citizen petition submitted to the FDA in August 2015 by the organization “Women’s Voices for the Earth” that requested the FDA issue safety guidance on the use of colorants in feminine care cosmetics. The group, a women’s advocacy organization that focuses on removing chemicals and toxins from consumer products, has yet to hear back from the agency.

“Aside from aesthetics, the use of colorants in feminine wash serves no purpose in these products,” said Alexandra Scranton, Director of Science and Research at Women’s Voices for the Earth. “Instead, they are exposing women to unnecessary, additional health risks – risks already recognized by the FDA.”

In her correspondence, Meng also called for updated labelling and ingredient listing if the FDA acknowledges that feminine washes, and similarly situated feminine hygiene cosmetics, are not “externally applied” products.

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