Monday, January 05, 2009

Do you like a Thrift Shop Deal? Read on!

As a momma writing for mommas, I think there is something I wanted to make you all aware of, as it will be affecting all of us soon.

Most of you know, one of the best ways to save money while raising a family is thrift stores and garage sales. The Lord has used many Thrift stores to provide for us affordable and great looking clothing for my kiddos over the years. Let's face it, youngin's grow way too fast to pay full price for all of their clothing, right?

Well, the ever-unhelpful government is about to help the troubled economy by changing all of that. As of February 10, 2009, your local thrift stores, retail stores, etc. will have to test each and every item for sale for children under 12 for lead and other chemicals. You can read more about it here. Another good article is found here.

This is, in some ways, a good thing because there have been childhood deaths relating to kids biting off pieces of their clothing (charms, etc.) containing lead, or the recent lead-paint on children's toys thing. I'm all about detoxing and cutting back on the chemicals we expose everyone too (especially the young ones). It's always a good idea to not let your kid put anything in their some kids like to explore with their mouths more than others. One of my daughters, while under the care of my mother in law one day, ate a whole tube of desitin diaper rash cream! Yuck! That was one strange trip to the ER...

On the other hand, it is a nightmare for thrift stores, small businesses, the handmade toy crafters, and most cottage industries. Most of those wooden toys that you buy from a craft fair are not being painted with lead and dipped in chemicals. When a mom works out of her home sewing cute, modest clothing and selling it online at, she is likewise not dipping it in scary chemicals or adding lead to it like the manufacturers of items in third world sweatshops sometimes do.

You think children's items are expensive now? Just wait until all of these manufacturers have to pay to have each item tested in a lab before it hits the shelves.

The problem with the law, as I understand it, and as many small business persons are worried about, is that this law is too broad. What has a great intent (protecting children from dangerous materials in everyday items) is going to hurt families and businesses and be yet another nail in the economic coffin.

Concerns I have:
1. *ALL* children's items at *ALL* thrift stores will have to go into a landfill as of Feb 10th if it is not tested. Too bad, so sad if that is the only place you can afford to get your kids' clothes, and so sorry if Goodwill can't afford the testing. Maybe those of us risky enough to buy from a thrift store should be allowed to buy as long as we sign a waiver??!?! "I promise not to let my child consume any part of these clothing items, and will not hold Goodwill responsible for any negative consequences if my child does digest any part of the clothing we have purchased today!"
2. What if the manufacturer is purchasing materials from a place that tested the materials?
3. What about those items that are still in inventory that were purchased long before this law? Will small business people have to fill up a LANDFILL with their items if they can't afford to test them?
4. Are businesses going to get a tax deduction on the cost of testing? Are we going to just let more businesses go under and bleed jobs?
5. How are people going to be able to adequately clothe their children when the cost of testing equals or exceeds the cost of manufacturing the clothing? We're supposed to pay double for children's items?
6. Where are the environmentalists on this? Obviously concerned about the chemicals but is there any outrage about how much landfill space this law is going to fill up?
No more reuse and recycle in the children's industry!
7. Is this going to include garage sales? Curriculum sales?

On the outset, it may seem good....yeah, test the children's products, make it safe for the kids, etc. I'm not saying some regulation is probably needed. However what is a concern is that this was pushed through fast, without really differentiating between your large sweatshop in China where they cut corners and use lead paint and things like that, and the kindly Amish toymaker up the road from me who makes wooden toys for kids. The factory where they manufacture clothing, and the local consignment store where clothing is RECYCLED instead of discarded.

Just thought I'd make my readers aware of this upcoming, yet unreported law.

No comments: