Lead law: Will Tuesday launch a black market in kids' clothes?
Feb 6th 2009 4:30PM
Updated Feb 6th 2009 4:56PM
Under the current rules, nothing works. Thrift stores and consignment shops don't have to test for lead; but will still be subject to enormous fines and the potential for prosecution if they sell a contaminated product. Small manufacturers still can't afford the testing requirements for natural products, like cloth diapers and hand-carved toys, no matter if the requirements go into effect Tuesday or a year from Tuesday. Used books can't be sold by libraries to raise money.
To address many of these problems, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint will be introducing an amendment to the bill which would exempt resellers from all parts of the act, stop the portion of the CPSIA that makes testing requirements retroactive, and allow manufacturers to use the certification obtained by component suppliers (for instance, fabric and snap manufacturers' testing could serve as certification for cloth diaper makers). His amendment would also delay the bill's implementation six months.
Retailers, manufacturers, and consumers who prefer to buy their children's products used are throwing up their arms in distress, and many consumers, such as Cathleen Lawrence, who spoke in this piece on NPR this morning, are suggesting we might just have to begin buying and selling used children's clothing, books and toys in secret underground societies, flying under the CPSC's radar. Will Tuesday launch a black market in thrifted and handmade children's toys, diapers and clothes, bicycles, skateboards, and imported hand-crafted goodies? The next four days are sure to be full of even more wringing-of-hands and uncertainty as we wait to see what the Senate and the CPSC will decide.