Friday, January 9, 2009

Used Item Retailers Worried About New Federal Regulations On Lead

USA Today notes that federal regulations aimed at eliminating lead-tainted childrens' products, passed under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in August and set to go into effect Feb. 10, "could force used-item retailers and thrift stores to trash many children's toys and clothing [and] are getting a second look from the Consumer Product Safety Commission."

The regulations require all such products, including clothes, toys and shoes, to be tested for lead and phthalates, the chemicals used to make plastics pliable. "The main issue for retailers is the costly testing, which can run from about $400 for a small item to thousands of dollars for larger toys with multiple pieces, according to Kathleen McHugh, president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association." Under the new regulations, any products not tested would be deemed hazardous whether they contain lead or not.

Abby Whetstone, owner of a Denver consignment store, says shops such as hers would not be able to afford the expensive lead tests, and that "every piece of inventory we have" would be affected. The CPSC voted this week "to work on exemptions to the regulations and evaluate the way they could impact sales from consignment shops, online retailers and even yard sales."

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