Updated: Friday, 09 Jan 2009, 12:51 PM EST
Published : Friday, 09 Jan 2009, 12:36 PM EST
The safety of children is behind a new law which looks to reduce the amount of lead allowed in kids' clothing and toys. But the changes put a heavy burden on stores that sell or resell those products.
Starting February 10th you can't sell any children's clothes or toys that contain more than 600 parts per million total lead. It's the consignment shops that specialize in kids' things that are most concerned. Consignment store owners say with all the stuff they've got in stock it's almost impossible to tell what's legal and what's not.
The "Good as New" consignment shop in Hamden does a steady business in second-hand kid's stuff. For parents like Kristen Brandt the store is a good place to pick things up and save some money.
"As a parent, and especially in this economy, people need to have their money go farther and places like this allow people to do that," she said.
But the store's owner, Susan Fasulo-McPherson, is afraid new laws will severely limit what she's able to sell. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act aims to reduce the amount of lead in products intended for children. Fasulo-McPherson said the intention's good but the law goes too far.
"There's no way for me to test to find out how much lead is in
that," she said, gesturing towards a toy. "The toys do not come in
The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a clarification about the new laws Thursday, saying resellers won't be required to test their entire inventory, but can't sell children's products that exceed the lead limit. Does that help?
"No there's no clarification," Fasulo-McPherson said. "Bascially how we look at it is it's a double-edged sword."
That's why Fasulo-McPherson is trying to get rid of as much of her current inventory as possible, especially the toys. She is offering them at 50-percent off.
What she and other consigment shop owners around the country are pushing for is a either a grandfather clause for existing inventory or some type of provision allowing them to sell off what they've got in stock.
What shoppers like Kristen Brandt want is for stores like this to stick around. "I've been shopping here for years, I've been consigning here for years," the North Haven woman said. "I've done it before the economy tanked and hopefully I'll do it once the economy comes back."
Stores that sell products that are over the lead limit face fines or criminal penalties.
So why not test things? Fasulo-McPherson said she doesn't trust the lead testing devices you can buy at the store, and hiring someone to test everything would be too expensive.
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