Thrift stores won’t be affected by lead-testing law

Good news for those, like me, who have been alarmed by news about new lead-testing requirements from the Consumer Product Safety Commission: As of yesterday, federal regulators have decided thrift-store and consignment operators won’t have to test used children’s clothes for lead.

This is a big relief for people like me who like to buy children’s clothing used — and even more so for those who must do so, and of course, most of all, for operators of these establishments.

The law requiring testing passed last August and goes into effect on Feb. 10. Still up in the air as to how it will affect them are smaller retailers, craftspersons, and people who sell or distribute books — including libraries.

The law’s purpose is to eliminate lead and phthalates from children’s products. So far, so good. Many thrift and consignment stores already do not sell plastic toys because of concerns about contaminates in the plastic. But re-use stores were worried — and small craftspeople still are — that the onerous testing fees would drive them out of business immediately.

But who has heard of a child sickened or killed by a T-shirt? Logically, clothing should be less risky than toys for children, simply because it is less likely to be chewed or sucked on, and because children wear each garment only sporadically (4-year-old boys in superhero costumes excepted).

Thankfully, regulators seem to be coming to their senses. It’s all well and good — and important — to protect our children. But eliminating the trade in used items, making clothing affordable to everyone, and keeping all those briefly worn garments out of landfills, would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Do you have any information or opinions about this issue, or scientific backing to share?


10 thoughts on “Thrift stores won’t be affected by lead-testing law

  1. jessimonster says:

    I wish I had read this three hours ago. I just sent letters to all my representatives this morning on this very issue, and now I feel a little silly. I still think the handmade products issue needs to be worked out though, so maybe it wasn’t all a loss.

  2. Mr. Swift says:

    That is great news! Does anyone know about the small businesses that make toys? The majority of those are natural products but will probably close due to cost of third party testing.

  3. Schelli says:

    This law has me frothing. Of course, I grew up in a time when pop rocks blew up in your mouth hard enough to hurt, we rode bikes without helmets, fell out of trees, ate candy ciggarettes, and had science kits with really cool chemicals.
    Now I sound like an old fart. I don’t WANT the government keeping me safe, fed, and assured and making law after law to make sure I don’t hurt myself, that is my responsibility. Errrrgggh…I could go on and on about this, it really trips my trigger.
    I feel sorry for kids today every time I visit my mom’s class room.

  4. Lisa says:

    This is great news but what about the Etsy people. We still need to fight this.

    And to Schelli I’m a libertarian and normally would agree but we can’t protect ourselves from lead and such because we have no idea what it’s in. We can’t all afford to test it either so if they could make this law only effect big companies I would be fine with it. Which is really saying something since I tend to say the less laws the better lol.

  5. Schelli says:

    Heh..I am a Libertarian as well. I do agree that we should be protected from lead, recent news stories of contamination make that evident. I think the reaction of “test everything that a child could come in to contact with” for lead is a bit ridiculous:) And I totally agree that the “mom n’ pop” shops, etsy crafters etc cant afford to test for that. I could take it one step further towards conspiracy and suggest that the law is one more step towards Wal-Mart taking over the world lol.

    The unfortunate thing is, we can’t protect ourselves from half the crap that is out some municipal water having more chlorine than your local swimming pool (anyone bought a pool test kit lately?) And it seems that rather than rational evaluation and response, it becomes a panic button issue with a backlash that can potentially create a broader range of issues…

    yak yak yak 🙂

  6. Jabari says:

    I’m sorry, but your article is false.

    Thrift stores are still going to have to throw away everything for children less than 13 years old. The “reprieve” is for the testing requirements. Anyone that sells a “Hazardous Substance” ™ such as a child’s jeans with a zipper that has just a touch too much lead in it is still criminally liable, with a $100,000 fine and 5 years in jail.

    How can anyone risk that, but selling something without testing it?

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