Saturday, January 03, 2009

No more thrift store kid stuff?

I'm shocked.

You've emailed me articles like this one and this one. New safety regulations will stop even secondhand stores from selling kids products without lead/pthalate testing.

The cynical side of me wonders if this is a way to boost sales. We thrift shoppers have subverted the retail economy for years. Suddenly, our toys and clothes have no resale value?

Yet I can't ignore the recalled Dora Backpacks and immigrant families I see every day. It's unlikely that safety notices would cross those digital and language barriers.

And the waste. Oh, the waste. Because every donated kid item will be sent straight to landfills.

The government should put its resources toward manufacturers FIRST--because it all cascades from there. Those children with lead-coated Thomas Trains were exposed at Target, not Goodwill.

In the end, though, what will be more important? That I dress my child for less, or the potential of one child's life saved?

What do you think? Would forcing families to buy new children's items do more harm than good? Should we expect a boom in yard sales?

78 comments:

Leila said...

Merideth, I am shocked too!

The problem with the argument about "saving one child" is that in fact, no amount of legislation can save every child from our essential condition, which is a fallen nature.

So what about common sense? You put your finger on something here:
Retailers rely on novelty rather than durability to sell their items. Resale cuts into their profits if that is what they are based on.

I simply could not have made it raising my seven children without used clothing, theirs and ours!

Anonymous said...

i do believe it is an economic decision...sadly...i hope us canadians will be free to thrift shop our toys...

how will this affect garage sales i wonder???

Celina in Canada

Anonymous said...

Goodwill stores here sell the "color of the week" clothing for only $1. on Thursdays through Saturdays. Time to stock up before the new (totally ridiculous) law goes into action. And I agree with Leila.
Mrs. L.

Sandy said...

I'm sorry, but I don't think this has anything to do with safety. I think it has to do with retailers not wanting to lose money since parents have decided to wise up and stop buying their kids all kinds of plastic junk. They want to make sure they get their piece of the pie. Makes me wish I had saved my older kids' toys in case I have another one. I am putting the Lincoln Logs in the attic.

Kacie said...

I didn't know about this before today, and I'm shocked, too!

I hope the law can be changed to cover new items only, so that thrift stores aren't put out of business.

I guess I'd better head to my favorite children's resale shop to stock up while I still can !

Indie said...

I knew this law was a mess, but I hadn't even thought about this aspect. The other big problem is small time toy and children's product makers being pushed out of business because they can't afford the testing for small batches of toys, clothes, and children's items. The law was meant to protect us from the big time toy makers that outsource to China and under the law they will be the only ones who survive.

So if this law actually goes into effect and the thrift stores take it seriously, I'd say that we should be dumpster diving on Feb. 10. Want to join me Meredith?

Janel said...

Oh it's deeper than all of that even. Think Etsy and anyone making handcrafted toys or sewing kids clothes to sell... It's a mess.

Some have branded it http://nationalbankruptcyday.com

More info here.

Mrs. Mordecai said...

I think this is a silly law, and it will just take more away from the poor. All shopping, including thrift shopping, is about using your own good judgment.

Kathleen Grace said...

This is insane! Does this mean that all items in all retail stores will have to be certified and tested? Or only in resale stores? How can retailers of any kind live up to this standard with clothing they have ordered last year for this years sales? If it doesn't apply to all retailers it is ineffective anyway. I agree with Janel too, what about small manufacturers of handmade clothing and toys? Can't we use some common sense in these things?

Anna said...

I am FURIOUS! The only REAL danger is the overseas manufacturers. And why put it on the retailers? They did nothing wrong.
I had no idea. Thanks for posting.

Marie said...

Were I a thrift store manager, I'd continue doing business as usual, EXCEPT -

I'd post a sign that says, "for adult use only" next to the toys and kids' clothes.

The adult buyers could then do what they like with them.

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

Marie, can I tell you how much I appreciate your voice of reason? I miss your blog!

I feel an immediate need to stockipile, too. In fact, I ran straight to Goodwill after reading this and the kids' section was WIPED OUT. Coincidence?

Indie, I think I will have to join you.

that, or Janel's going to have to teach me how to sew.

Sandy, I feel the same regret about not keeping/taking better care of the thrift store clothes and toys I have already. Perhaps that will be the good to come out of this.

Melissa said...

I just heard about all of this today and I, too, am completely shocked! I wish I could say that I had confidenc that our government will see their mistake and re-word the legislation, but I do not.

How are all the local charities going to survive? I know that in this area there are tons of kid-to-kid type stores and children's hospitals that rely on being able to re-sale children's items.

I must get links to work on my blog so I can also help get the word out about this.

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

this is crazy!! As a mom of five, who virtually gave all second hand toys this Christmas, I am so frustrated! It won't affect yard saling, fortunately, because government can't legislate that...yet.

Anonymous said...

Is the Little People Nativity set you pictured considered unsafe with high levels of lead? I have the same set.

Thanks.

Torey said...

What a mess. Should we all be contacting our representatives in Congress and trying to stop this?

Will this affect little charity store i.e the church thrift store that isn't selling for profit?

I guess we'll all be yardsaling, until Congress bans that too.

Kim said...

What's next? Yard sales? So they're going to keep the kids safe by dumping tons of lead-laced, and who knows what else, toys and clothes into the landfills which will then put drinking water at risk. Brilliant.

Monica said...

I think the premise behind the regulation of keeping our children safe is a good one. However, I don't think our lawmakers fully thought of the implications as far as toys and clothing in a secondhand market. A number of children's clothing and toys sellers on eBay and Etsy as well as thrift stores, consignment stores, antique stores, etc. could be out of business. Most small businesses cannot afford the costs of testing every part of a product for hazards like the big businesses can.
I can see clothing and toy swaps becoming very popular if this law goes through.
I will be contacting my lawmakers. I agree with your cynicism. And where is all of this stuff going to go?

Angie at Baby Cheapskate said...

I just found out about this tonight and I'm absolutely reeling.

The legislation will even effect giving clothing and toys to charity, selling them at yard sales, and passing them on to friends and neighbors. Heartbreaking.

Anonymous said...

I was outraged about this, but then I started to think. If we assume that the original intent is for the children's safety, then it appears different.
I love yard sales, thrift stores, craigslist, and etsy. But look at it this way. If those venues are exempt from the law, then who is still at risk? The children. Not just any child. The children of wealthy parents who can afford to buy new, tested items, are no longer at risk. The law, if written to help those who want to be frugal, would not be fair to the children. There has to be another way. Maybe a tax break or free testing equipment to small or home based businesses and thrift stores. Something like that.
People scoffed at the replacement of asbetos tiles and lead paint in homes when those laws passed as well.
Lisa

Anonymous said...

I was outraged about this, but then I started to think. If we assume that the original intent is for the children's safety, then it appears different.
I love yard sales, thrift stores, craigslist, and etsy. But look at it this way. If those venues are exempt from the law, then who is still at risk? The children. Not just any child. The children of wealthy parents who can afford to buy new, tested items, are no longer at risk. The law, if written to help those who want to be frugal, would not be fair to the children. There has to be another way. Maybe a tax break or free testing equipment to small or home based businesses and thrift stores. Something like that.
People scoffed at the replacement of asbetos tiles and lead paint in homes when those laws passed as well.
Lisa

Amy said...

Oh dear. I fear I disagree with you...or maybe not. Perhaps you were simply posting a question when you asked, "In the end, though, what will be more important? Dressing my child for less, or the potential of one child's life saved." I hope it's the latter.

We CAN do both! We can dress and educate our children for less through thrift stores, yard sales, garage sales, Ebay, Paperbackswap, etc. AND at the same time save children's lives! You said it yourself when you mentioned that the kids exposed to lead were exposed through the NEW retailers NOT the thrift stores!

This bill is NOT about saving a child's life. If it were, they'd have cracked down on overseas plants (like those in China) from which the problems have originated NOT on the resalers! This bill is for the manufacturers and retailers of new goods NOT about the protection of the children. If they were so concerned about children then they would stop and think about those who won't be able to afford the necessities without sellers of used goods.

Unfortunately, there are numerous families throughout our country who MUST utilize used goods in order to clothe, educate, and otherwise provide for their families. There are some also who desire to buy used to help our environment. There are those who believe in only buying hand-made goods from the US for the best of their family. I'm a combo of all of those as we MUST buy used or clearance to provide for our family, but also feel it's best to support local retailers and manufacturers.

We do NOT have to give up our rights and our freedoms for the greater good. The greater good can STILL be considered without us loosing what are unalienable rights.

Last time I checked, we were still a capitalist, democratic society...but we're becoming more socialist every day. This law is another step in that direction.

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

No, the Little People Nativity is (as far as I know) safe.

I used the photos because I had just been about to list the figures on Ebay this afternoon. Kind of ironic?

These are the types of toys I always worry might have lead on the paint, children gnawing on them, parents unaware.

This law has split me in 2 because I am so over-concerned about lead exposure and the irreversible damage it can do to children's brains.

Anonymous said...

My jaw has dropped open and I feel furious! I intend to contact my state reps, congresspersons, etc.

Another serious loss of freedom in the name of 'safety'. This is crazy! Ebay and yard sales are next.

deb meyers

Jane said...

I think it's a personal risk. Here in CA there are signs *everywhere* warning us of danger. My car even came with a sticker that said, "This car contains chemicals known to the state of CA to cause cancer." My apartment elevator lobby also has a sign. Restaurants have the signs. So does some of the china at Target. The list goes on and on. Do I drive? Use the elevator? eat out? Of course. But, I have passed up on some darling dishes at Target.

I would appreciate a sign at thrift that said, "Since there is no way for us to test for lead/etc... buyer beware." Then I can carefully select/reject items at my own choosing.

Tyggereye said...

What I don't get is how they think they are going to "regulate" this. I mean really... Do you think people will stop posting on craigslist? Do you think they'll be random busts? I just have a feeling that on the down low things are going to continue as usual. Or is that just me?

VanderbiltWife said...

REALLY? No more Once Upon a Child? I went and looked at Gymboree today and even on sale--RIDICULOUS! Hope they can't shut down church consignment sale...

Carrie-in-TN said...

As a small business owner who sells children's gift tees, my business is one of the many in danger.

Even worse and possibly more expensive than mandatory lead testing for a product that has no lead (a cotton onesie and unfinished wood box) is the mandatory reg. that we have to permanently attach a label stating where, when and by whom the garment was manufactured. That is ridiculously expensive if you are buying by the dozens, not the thousands...Custom clothing labels have minimums and they're not cheap.

I personally believe the law will get changed. We can't afford to lose thousands/millions of retailers and artists and entrepreneurs in this economy.

Must say too, I have a 5-year-old, so I am not against the spirit of this law. I want our children to be safe.

The problem is people who do not understand how products come to market, and who did not think through the economic ramifications, allowed this law to pass.

Thanks for the outrage, ladies...

Ginger said...

I think it is a gimmick the sales people have cooked up. I am not going to be able to cloth my children unless I buy BRAND NEW from stuffmart. Right now, I buy at salvation army, goodwill, etc. I think the big names payed their lawyers and their lobbiest for this new bill. It is sad. What is the common poor folk in America to do, not even including those that sell cloth diapers etc. While I am all for safety in America, I am also for those that try to do business in America as well.

Edi said...

So how many people have died due to lead poisoning in clothing/jewelery/and toys in the last 10 yrs?

Some might say - well even if it's only ONE person or TEN people - we need to be safe. If that's the case - we better ban cars and everything else b/c there is RISK in everything. What if a toddler chokes to death on a hotdog - do we ban hotdogs? What if a teenager dies skateboarding - do we ban skateboards? (well maybe if they have lead).

Especially during this difficult economic time - when people will have less $ to spend on clothes/toys etc. - the gov't is gonna force people to spend more $???

Carrien said...

It would be a simple matter to just limit the law to retail stores knowing that the trickle down effect will, within a decade or so, also have an impact on the secondhand market. If sellers of new items have to test for lead it's only a matter of time before the items hitting resale stores have already been tested once.

Of course, it seems ridiculous to put the onus on the seller, not the manufacturers, but others have already addressed that point.

Anonymous said...

OK, I think this is the part where the "Government of the people, by the people, for the people" kicks into effect!! This is ridiculous, and every single mom reading this blog needs to contact her Congressmen and Senators and have this law toned down a WHOLE lot!! This is the most nutso thing I've read in a long time. I hadn't heard about this yet, Meredith, so I'm glad that you posted the links.
Susan

Paula said...

I am so thankful that our church hosts swaps. We bring clothes, all sizes, and toys and place them in the proper place, then take what we need. NOTHING IS SOLD! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information concerning the Nativity set.

Yes, it is of great concern. The manufacturers of toys have a huge responsibility to their consumers, but unfortunately most do not take the responsibility seriously. All they see are the $$$ signs. These situations leave parents very scared, misinformed, and confused. Not a good place to be!! I guess you just have to research, research, research.

I try to buy mainly American, German, and English made products for my son, but it is not always possible. A great web site that I found is Oompa.com (Oompa Toys). They sell mainly American and German made toys that are eco friendly. They list all the brand names to look for that promote safe toys.

Your site is very interesting. I have just recently come across it. Thanks

frugalmom said...

I have a LP Nativity set that is missing its baby Jesus, can you send me a link to your auction? thanks
monique@thefrugalfarm.com

And I think the proposed regulations are absurd.

forgetfulone said...

Much more harm than good, for everyone involved - not just the thrift store owners, thrift store shoppers, but overall, the entire economy will be affected. Manufacturing costs will go up, and those costs will trickle down to consumers. Those that can't afford toys will forgo them or steal them.

I have a question... what about garage or rummage sales? Does that mean we can't sell children's items from our own homes?

hsgbdmama said...

I have a bunch of outgrown clothes that I was planning on donating to thrift stores, now I will need to check with them first if they are in fact accepting them. (I second Marie's suggestion.)

Contacting our elected officials on the absurdity of this law is very much in order!

If I am unable to donate things to the thrift stores, then I will have to garage sale them.

Anonymous said...

If this is true, how many children will be cold next winter because their parents aren't allowed to buy - or receive from charities - warm winter coats???? Insanity!

Off this subject, but thinking about resale. What happened to those Hadley dishes you didn't want? Did that turn out to be a good investment for you?

Chantel said...

This is a silly law. And it has nothing to do with safety of children, just greed. It's sad.

Gini (Hallquist) Young said...

I got that message too! And thanks for stopping by my sis's site to wish her happy pregnancy. they've been trying for years.

but really could it truly happen? yes, yard sales will be our only hope at thrift. And I agree at the manufacturers! hello...start there.

Heather said...

Wow...I had no idea. This law seems to throw the baby (robe) out with the bath water. Obviously this law goes way beyond what it means to and the impact will be felt far and wide. As a new mom myself, I sure hope that thrift stores continue to sell. It is my responsibility to judge the safety of toys and clothes, not a legislator. Personally, I think clothes that have been worn and washed numerous times have less toxins than the brand new ones!

As a side note, I heard an expert speak about lead poisoning while I was pregnant. His job is testing lead levels in homes, toys, etc. He specifically talked about toys and that fact that most of what we are hearing is hype. If there isn't peeling lead paint for them to eat or an item for them to swallow there is little danger. Many of the plastic toys with lead did not cause any increased lead levels in children. The lead only became a problem when taken in the lab, ground up and then tested. The dust could cause problems, but few children can turn plastic into dust according to him. He is a father and said his worries are much stronger when it comes to peeling paint than when it comes to plastic toys.

Heather
www.pagesbyheather.com

Michelle Smiles said...

This makes me angry. The only people who will benefit from this are those who own Mattel and Fisher Price and other large toy makers (and clothing). It will kill the small toy industry - so many cute (and non-battery taking) toys will no longer be enjoyed by children and parents. And thrift store - ugh! I rarely buy anything new for my kids because their things have such a short life - it is almost all hand me downs or consignment sale stuff. They do it in the name of "saving a child" but in reality they are trying to save their own (retailers) butts. What an amazing lobby and PR firm the toy makers must have hired.

There are so many true issues facing families in this day and age - nutrition, abuse, illiteracy, education, obesity, decay of the family. Tackle one of those if you want to save a child. Otherwise, do some education about the dangers of buying at Goodwill or from small toy makers (make them put up a stupid warning sign if it makes you feel safer) and then let parents make their own choices. I don't need the government deciding what is safe for me to give to my children.

Anonymous said...

Meredith,
I think the moms should to a clothing/toy exchange among themselves. You could get members of your church, school, sports groups etc to be involved. Nothing is being said about trading just that used items can't be sold. Something to think about.

Coleen

nancyr said...

I am of your mother's generation, and we had lead paint on everything, I actually played with Mercury, as my dentist gave me some to play with, we didn't have tons of regulations, and somehow we survived.
I think government is becoming much to much like "Big Brother"!
Maybe if we stopped buying everything from China we would have fewer problems.

Christine said...

This is absolutely insane..... I'm so very tired of govt regulation. So very tired of being treated as if I'm an idiot and so very tired of being told what I can and can not buy.

Lets hurt the poor in this already tough economy-Now there is a real way to boost the economy.

Janette said...

My husband started making wooden toys for my daughter's friends...there goes that retirement industry!

Domestic Accident said...

Personally, I hate that as consumers, as Americans, we have left it in the hands of the government to regulate and inevitably make a mess of it (oooh, that's sounds way more conservative than I like.) In a perfect world, all consumers would boycott any toy manufacturers who would dare bring subpar, unhealthy products to our children and they would regulate themselves.

I'm a dreamer, I know.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I honestly think that products will be no safer- they will just make people think they are. And all my favorite hand-made things won't be available anymore. : (

Steph

Anonymous said...

You can get lead testers at the hardware store for a few dollars. They sell them for testing old homes, but I assume they'd work on anything. Cheap way to find out if a toy you have is contaminated.

I agree that this law is stupid. I hope they realize how stupid it is and change it.

Megan

Rachel said...

This is a ridiculous law. I understand the intent--but it could have been worded so as to make the law applicable to new item retailers only...trickle down would have had it that way anyway.

As an avid thrift/yard sale shopper, this is "devastating" to our family economy. Guess its time to be pulling my sewing machine out and using it more often...something I knew I was going to be doing anyway, but still.

Ugh. Personally, I feel that this is another attempt to have us all feeding at the same trough. The NAIS on farmers, this law...others of the same mindset..its ugly. And it makes me so angry...

GRRR.

Rachel

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

I am the thankful recipient of hand me downs from my neighbor. In turn I share all my youngest daughter's hand me downs with a co-worker with two little girls. I can't imagine that the government will be able to regulate this day to day type sharing between moms. If so, then I fear for what else the government will start regulating!

I just think this is a horrific example of good intention legislation gone wrong. There should be some sort of grandfather clause or some thought given to just dumping these items in a landfill. Surely no one wants that to happen in the name of a better, "safer" world for our children?

Mrs. V. said...

A boom in yardsales? Yes, definitely! I do understand the thinking behind it...I see what it is they are trying to do. But at the same time, I can't help but feel it is going overboard. A bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater perhaps?

Daiquiri said...

What?! Really!? I hadn't heard anything about this until just now. I'm shocked...

Just toys or clothes too?

I think safety always has to come first - however I absolutely agree with you that it should start at the other end of the food chain to be most effective. If it's straighted out from the beginning, then buying used would be safe.

Frankly, I'd like to see much of our manufacturing be shifted back to the US...US standards, US testing, much needed US jobs.

I hope that at the very least, all those plastic toys will be marked with the appropriate recycling labels so that we can recycle instead of throw away.

What a mess...

HA! I just read Marie's idea about labeling the "for adult use only" sign...now THAT is pure brilliance!! :)

Daiquiri said...

Sorry for another comment - I can't stop thinking about this, I'm just so taken aback! I hope that this will quickly be deemed a crazy law, and will be changed (at least to not include 2nd hand stores). Maybe extra signage in the store to inform the end user, and let the purchaser make their own choices?

If not, let's start a toy/clothes *trading* community. We couldn't sell it for money, but we could trade as friends couldn't we? We can go back to the old way of bartering. Money isn't the only thing of value that we have to offer in exchange for something we want/need...is it still considered "selling" if we're trading goods for goods?

If not, there's always freecycle. We can give it away for free in the hope that we can find what we need there too.

Ack. I just can't believe it!

Andrea said...

Well...I have to agree with others. The SPIRIT of the law is just fine. However, the actual legislation is shoddy policking at its best and finest; hastily written in the hopes that it will get passed and ratified into law under W before Mr. Obama takes office.

I find it absolutely absurd, and frankly, am not nearly half as worried about it as I think some would want us to be. Something of this nature just won't pass through our political system long enough before enough enraged mamas and daddies call their congressmen and women, and convince them to change this. Frankly, I'm more concerned about if the clothing has come from a home that has smokers or cats!!! (We're allergic to cats here.)

I'm not going to fuss over this too much - it'll change. Just watch.

Indie said...

It scares me that the folks who came up with this law and No Child Left Behind are the same people who are supposed to get us out of the economic mess that we're in.

Joy of Frugal Living said...

Wow, I am shocked by this. It figures, right before I finally have a baby (in the summer). I had grand plans of getting ultra-cheap baby stuff used after we find out whether it's a boy or a girl. I really hope this changes!

I think it's actually going to be scarier if smaller manufacturers can't keep up with the regulations, and we get more imported junk.

Jennifer

Jill said...

Funny how growing up we survived at all. We didn't have all these regulations - how did our parents ever do it (roll eyes here). This is absurd. I am more than capable of deciding what I believe is safe or not safe for my children or grands. We shop resale/thrift a lot for a lot of items. Guess we will be going to garage sales a whole lot more.

Debbie said...

In our attempt to force safety on people this country becomes ridiculous, assuming we are all too stupid to use common sense so the government must regulate us in everything. The few people who lack common sense or intelligence ruin good things for the rest of us.

And, this is in direct conflict with "going green" and preserving our environment through recycling rather than buying new. Things are getting out of hand because not everyone can afford the "safest" and "protected" merchandise. More regulation always means more cost. And often their rules contradict each other. As an example, in a few years the chemicals used for flame retardency in children's sleepware becomes suspect for carcinogens, etc. We protect the kids in one way while hurting them in another.

This is just plain crazy. Thrift store shopping has always been "as is" and "buyer beware."

Monroe on a budget said...

One of the biggest thrift shops in our community already refuses to take toys.

Frustrated families have asked me what they can do to clear out outgrown but still useful toys, but there are no easy alternatives.

Mrs. Pear said...

The thrift shops in our area have been very unhelpful for some time as by the time items find their way there they are so threadbare that they are all by unuseable.

To help each other out friends have been passing items around and down...including toys. If fact, this afternoon I will be sorting through two boxes of clothing, dividing it up for a neighbor and dear friend.

While I am not thrilled with this law, and think it is extremely poorly written, I am not a citizen of the US with a political voice, I only have a green card.

So I do what I can which is to reach out and create my own circle of sharing stuff. This is how things used to be done, and there is no reason we cannot again.

Elizabeth G. said...

Seems like yardsales will be the only way...Can't wait for those!

Blessings,
Elizabeth

Kim K said...

For those of you who believe this is a conspiracy by retailers to make more money off of people who buy at thrift stores, you need to understand that the retailers are in as much of a muddle as everyone else. All the inventory on Toys R Us's shelves? If the manufacturer can't or won't issue a certificate of compliance, it's Toys R Us's responsibility to make sure those items meet the standards. That will cost them a fortune. And what about children's stores that have a niche market carrying unusual handmade items and kids' clothing? Sure, they can continue selling the Carters brand, but that which distinguishes them will be gone.

No one from raw-materials suppliers to manufacturers to retailers to resellers wanted this. No one. It hurts everyone all the way down the line. This is a sad case of the government throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Consider Coats and Clark. They manufacture thread. They don't want to test all their thread (hundreds of colors, each one needing a different test) because not all finished products using the thread are for kids. So the manufacturer of the clothing has to test. Well, if there are thousands of small manufacturers and mom/pop businesses who can no longer sell their children's clothing items because they can't afford the testing, they will stop buying thread, which hurts Coats and Clark too.

I just think this was the case of a good idea gone horribly bad because it sounded good on its face, but no one thought it through to its unfortunate conclusion.

Corey Jewett said...

I considered a prolonged hyperbolic response (including several references to plastic junk, sticks, the outdoors, and consumerism), but instead please peruse the following links with the assumption that the original articles (LA Times/Columbus Dispatch) are prize examples of irresponsible journalism.

The CPSIA Act text

CPSC FAQ related to interpretation thereof

More info

Phthalate-wha?

Short story: It's about the children and their plastic/painted toys, not their clothes. Any sensationalist small biz owners quoted might want to contact the CPSC and maybe a lawyer before just packing up shop. Send them outside to find a stick (sorry, couldn't resist).

TracyMichele said...

Meredith.. I have been absent for some time now because of a project I am working on. This bill just came to my attention via another site and I RUSHED here to tell you.. knowing how many moms you reach. As always you are one step ahead of me. :)

Some great comments here. As I understand the bill, this will effect ALL re-sale situations. Thrift stores and sales, yard sales, CHURCH yard sales, ebay, etsy and craigslist.

If people are interested, they can contact their representatives. There are form emails on-line that you can modify and email representatives.

Kerry L said...

The fact is that the impetus should be on the manufacturer and the importer- NOT the small business, mother or crafter to be testing these materials.

And the other fact is- that without the trickle down of used items to the family of the child who may or may not have a bad backpack is- that without used items we will all be on the streets.
A selfish thoughtless act by a government who is turning us into a Nanny state.

Allison said...

This is an outrage and paranoia gone awry. How many children have been harmed by lead poison in recent years? I smell lobbyists for Wal-Mart...

Cottonpickinfarm said...

I am confused. How does the lead found in toys predominately in China transfer to second-hand childrens clothes? I understand the toys ~ to a point. But does the law actually say clothing?

Cottonpickinfarm said...

I am confused. How does the lead found in toys predominately in/from China transfer to second-hand children's clothes? I understand the toys ~ to a point. But does the law actually say clothing?

I am the executive director of a non-profit that gives clothing and household goods to foster and adoptive families. This could close us down.

Ellen said...

Ok, I just called Congressman Bobby Rush's office. (He's a committee chair responsible for consumer protect issues.)

I was told by the person who answered the phone that he had co-sponsored the bill that created this nasty problem. The guy on the phone told me that the new regulations were only going to apply to toys and items manufactured after Feb. 10, and that there was an exemption being worked out for naturally produced products. He also said that any items produced after Feb. 10 should've been tested by the manufacturer, and resale stores and consignment sales shouldn't have to retest. He didn't think this would affect consignment sales because they were manufacturers. He also said they'd been getting a lot of calls about this and to check the Consumer Protection Agency website.

Honestly, I don't know exactly what to believe. I have been a legislative intern myself, and I'm not sure of the knowledge of the people answering the phone, but this did make me feel a bit better.

I highly recommend that we all call our legislators and ask some questions. Call Rep. Rush and see if you get a different story than I did! =)

Ann'Re @ Home said...

Ugh...I've been out of the loop over the holidays and this floored me today. The ones who benefit from this new law won't be the children, but big toy corporations like Matel (after the smaller children's manufacturers fold under the weight of these regulations) and the labs that are going to be doing the testing.

I think I'll go tomorrow and visit my local thrift store.

natalie said...

This news story from the LA Times
(http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-thrift2-2009jan02,0,2083247.story)
says that "the Consumer Product Safety Commission's general counsel has already determined that the law applies retroactively, said commission spokesman Scott Wolfson." So thrift store items WILL be affected as well. However, the commission, as I understand it, still has some leeway in writing how the law will be enforced, so we all need to be contacting senators and representatives, to make clear to them that the law needs to exempt small business owners and thrift stores.

The problem here is that because of dangerous toys imported from China, toymakers and other US, Canadian, and European small businesses are going to suffer, despite their excellent safety record. Only the biggest companies can afford the type of safety testing required. I'm horrified thinking that the wonderful wooden toys that I splurged on for my son's Christmas and birthday gifts may not be available next year!

Sophia said...

I just now read this, and I must say I'm more than a little bothered by government poking its nose in AGAIN where it does not belong.

Yes, we know there are risks getting toys from the thrift store. But we can look online to find out if they're recalled. As you mentioned, there are JUST AS MANY risks buying toys brand-new.

If "they" start this, maybe we should start an online list of "friends" to exchange toys and clothes for free. The government has no say in who I give my hand-me-downs to. Period.

Maybe we need a little more common sense in Washington DC - and the rest of America!

Mar said...

Meredith, the CPSC issued a clarification on this law today. It's at the copy of their page; the link is http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09086.html

It seems to take care of a lot of the concerns and we can keep buying (and selling) our consignment and thrift store items, but I still think it will affect the small toy makers. One of them was on Glenn Beck's radio show this morning saying that it's his understanding that they can't just test a bolt of fabric if it's going to be used for, say, 30 different soft toys. They have to check each cut of the material they use - how stupid is that?

Desiree said...

Hello, I am a consignment shop owner in Mississippi. As most of you know MS is one of the poorest states in the nation. Most of my customers are low-income, single moms, and young teenage moms. They depend on having quality clothing and toys for their children at a fraction of the cost. This new law will not only hurt my business but will hurt the lower income families. I do not see why thrift stores and consignment shops would need to follow this law if the larger corporations are testing their clothing. Like another blogger stated it trickles down from them, so we receive it secondhand we should assume that has been tested. I'm not sure what I am going to do. I have read several articles where it says the law does not require thrift stores and consignment stores to test their items but they should use their own judgement in selling items that may contain lead. This is just a nightmare. They need to make this law more defined. Also, if it does not affect garage sales why should it affect thrift stores and consignment shops, they all do the same thing sell used items. It doesn't make sense to me. I think if we would make more items in the U.S. instead of outsourcing all of our jobs and receiving imports from China we wouldn't have to have these crazy laws. I'm really frustrated over this. Hopefully there will be more clarification for the thrift stores, consignment shops, goodwills, and churches.

Linda - Nickers and Ink said...

How did we - or our parents - or even our older kids ever grow up?


;-)

Blessings,
Linda

HEART OF A READY WRITER – Reading Through the Bible in 2009

Anonymous said...

All this is relatively new to me, of which I find it rather disturbing. I want to open a consignment store (apparel only to begin). If I am going to be faced with additional laws and regulations, then I will omit the offending items or simply not accept to carry them in my store.

The irony of this is that if we keep going in this direction, we will look more and more like the former U.S.S.R. Oversight of regular citizens by the gov't is a very bad idea.

I guess time will tell.

skaismith said...

I'm about to open a second hand toy shop for children and I will NOT let this crap keep me down. I will check the toy recall list and have copy of them in my shop in binders. I will continue to take donated items and will sort through them. If it's NOT on the recall list, I WILL sell it. I have 2 kids of my own (10yrs and 11mos) and will make sure my customers are safe just like my kids. Anyway, anybody on here know where I can get some of those lead laced walking shoes for my 11mos old before they out too? (LOL)