A law meant to keep poison away from children could be lethal for some small businesses and thrift stores. The law is part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act that was passed over the summer of 2008. It's intended to make safety standards stricter for children's products after the lead-scare from toys made in China. One small business says the ripple effect of this law will be felt throughout the Lubbock community.
"There's tons of my kids stuff in the store. It is all safe, my kids are just fine. The fact we can't re-sale to folks that need it is just baffling to me," says Amy Stephens, the Chairman for the Repeat Boutique part of the Junior League of Lubbock. She was shocked when we told her of the law. "It will have a terrible effect on our sales and our ability to give back to the community. The Junior League of Lubbock and Repeat Boutique give back to the community and I'm very saddened by this news," says Stephens. The law mandates all products sold for children 12-years and under be tested for lead, including clothing.
Kathleen Fasanella has been in the apparel industry for 27-years and runs the website NationalBankruptcyDay.com. She believes that on February 10th many businesses will end up going bankrupt because they simply cannot afford the cost of lead testing on all of their products. "The ripple effect of this law is that consumers are going to hurt very badly. The only people that are still going to be in business in the short term will be the large companies that produce commodities such as the inexpensive products found at Walmart. These companies have the means to test all of their products according to the new standards," says Fasanella.
Those that disagree with the law have taken to the internet to protest, and many of the postings are from people who call Lubbock home.
Stephens says lead testing is not in Repeat Boutique's budget. "At this point, unless we have a better option, we'll just have to throw all of our items out." NewsChannel 11 left a message with the Consumer Product Safety Commission but has not heard back from them. The commission gave a preliminary okay to make some changes in the lead testing rules to help ease the burden on the small businesses and thrift stores. These changes have not been formally adopted and won't be approved until after the initial testing rules go into effect on February 10th, 2009. The rules of the law have not been printed in the federal register yet.
If you have a question for the Consumer Product Safety Commission regarding the new legislation you can submit it to the Commission by (clicking here).
Child Safety Consumer Advocate