Bans taking effect Feb. 10 on toys and children's products that contain high levels of lead or certain phthalates will exempt secondhand shops from certain testing requirements, according to a new ruling from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
That means parents shopping at consignment shops, Salvation Army and the like will have to be a little more wary of products that may contain plastics with phthalates, which may disrupt the normal functioning of hormones and particularly affect boys, and lead, which is a potent neurotoxin that attacks the brain and can cause permanent damage, reduced IQ and behavioral problems.
Retailers and manufacturers of new children's products will have to certify that those products meet the new standards. Some in the industry, particularly small retailers and manufacturers, have argued that the testing requirements are too expensive and will put them out of business.
But the Consumer Product Safety Commission has not exempted secondhand shops completely. According to the CPSC: "The new safety law does not require resellers to test children's products in inventory for compliance with the lead limit before they are sold. However, resellers cannot sell children's products that exceed the lead limit and therefore should avoid products that are likely to have lead content, unless they have testing or other information to indicate the products being sold have less than the new limit. Those resellers that do sell products in violation of the new limits could face civil and/or criminal penalties."
So you don't have to test, but if you sell banned products, you could face fines.
The agency's enforcement plan can also be read as a useful caution to parents:
"The agency intends to focus its enforcement efforts on products of greatest risk and largest exposure. While CPSC expects every company to comply fully with the new laws resellers should pay special attention to certain product categories. Among these are recalled children's products, particularly cribs and play yards; children's products that may contain lead, such as children's jewelry and painted wooden or metal toys; flimsily made toys that are easily breakable into small parts; toys that lack the required age warnings; and dolls and stuffed toys that have buttons, eyes, noses or other small parts that are not securely fastened and could present a choking hazard for young children."
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