House advances Carey’s bipartisan Youth Poisoning Protection Act

A bipartisan bill cosponsored by U.S. Rep. Mike Carey (R-OH) that would ban a hazardous product being used in youth suicides advanced to the U.S. Senate after passing the U.S. House of Representatives on May 15.

“At present, these chemicals are readily available online for minors to purchase and ship to their front door,” said Rep. Carey last week. “This passage is a crucial step to getting deadly poisons out of the hands of our children.”

Specifically, the Youth Poisoning Protection Act, H.R. 4310, which U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA) sponsored in June 2023, would make a consumer product having a 10 percent or greater concentration of sodium nitrite a banned hazardous product, according to the congressional record bill summary. 

Sodium nitrite is a chemical used primarily in preserving meat and fish. But if it’s consumed, even a spoonful can be 100 times more deadly than other poisons, and in recent years, the number of sodium nitrite self-poisonings have increased nine times over, according to information provided by Rep. Carey’s staff.

“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare: a faceless stranger over the internet teaching your child how to take their own life, and your child, in a moment of vulnerability, listening to them,” Rep. Carey said.

After the House voted 376-33 to approve the bill, the Senate referred H.R. 4310 for consideration to the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which is already reviewing the identical S. 2233, introduced in July 2023 by U.S. Sens. J.D. Vance (R-OH) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

The Youth Poisoning Protection Act is supported by Consumer Reports, Public Citizen, the Consumer Federation of America, the National Consumers League, and the Crisis Text Line.