The safety of children is behind a new law which looks to reducethe amount of lead allowed in kids' clothing and toys. But thechanges put a heavy burden on stores that sell or resell thoseproducts.
Starting February 10th you can't sell any children's clothes ortoys that contain more than 600 parts per million total lead. It'sthe consignment shops that specialize in kids' things that are mostconcerned. Consignment store owners say with all the stuff they'vegot in stock it's almost impossible to tell what's legal and what'snot.
The "Good as New" consignment shop in Hamden does a steadybusiness in second-hand kid's stuff. For parents like KristenBrandt the store is a good place to pick things up and save somemoney.
"As a parent, and especially in this economy, people need tohave their money go farther and places like this allow people to dothat," she said.
But the store's owner, Susan Fasulo-McPherson, is afraid newlaws will severely limit what she's able to sell. The ConsumerProduct Safety Improvement Act aims to reduce the amount of lead inproducts intended for children. Fasulo-McPherson said theintention's good but the law goes too far.
"There's no way for me to test to find out how much lead is inthat," she said, gesturing towards a toy. "The toys do not come inwith paperwork."
The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a clarificationabout the new laws Thursday, saying resellers won't be required totest their entire inventory, but can't sell children's productsthat exceed the lead limit. Does that help?
"No there's no clarification," Fasulo-McPherson said. "Basciallyhow we look at it is it's a double-edged sword."
That's why Fasulo-McPherson is trying to get rid of as much ofher current inventory as possible, especially the toys. She isoffering them at 50-percent off.
What she and other consigment shop owners around the country arepushing for is a either a grandfather clause for existing inventoryor some type of provision allowing them to sell off what they'vegot in stock.
What shoppers like Kristen Brandt want is for stores like thisto stick around. "I've been shopping here for years, I've beenconsigning here for years," the North Haven woman said. "I've doneit before the economy tanked and hopefully I'll do it once theeconomy comes back."
Stores that sell products that are over the lead limit facefines or criminal penalties.
So why not test things? Fasulo-McPherson said she doesn't trustthe lead testing devices you can buy at the store, and hiringsomeone to test everything would be too expensive.
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