Thursday, January 8, 2009

We Must Do Something

According to The Columbus Dispatch, starting on Feb. 10, 2009, when the new law banning lead paint in children's toys will take effect, there will also be a ban on resale of any children's toys! (Go to the article link here.)That means, no thrift shop, resale store, or garage sale will be able to sell pre-owned toys, and may also be taken to mean resale clothes and books, anything that may contain lead and end up worn or used by children.

If true - and I can't find any evidence to the contrary - this will have profound implications, not just for the families who depend on 2ndhand goods, not just for the stores that carry said goods, but for the earth, too. Can you imagine the amount of excess in landfills when these toys, clothes, books, etc. become junk, by order of the US Government? It boggles the mind.

From winter 08 09

Originally, this post was reserved for connections between literature and imagination - Owen is posing as The Headless Horseman up in that picture, and spends most of his spare time "reading" our library's graphic-novel copy of Washington Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hollow - but for now, I want you to take a good look at Owen's horse.

Purchased last week, from a fantastic thrift shop nearby, for 50 cents! A month from now, unless something changes in the law, that horse would be bound for the junkyard.

Or, put another way, unless you and I do something. Right now.

But what? This link will take you to a place where you can send an email to your congresspeople, and if that's your choice then it is a good choice. I'm going to find out who my rep in the US Congress is, today, and call him or her (and yes, I know how inexcusable it is not to know that already... mea culpa!) and ask that something be done.

Because, if not me, then who?

Please, please help.

Update: Here is a Los Angeles Times article about the problem.

Update #2: I now know who my Congressperson is: Richard Neal, of Massachusetts' 2nd District. The woman I spoke with in his office here in MA was wonderful, and while I called with trepidation - it's nerve-wracking to call a public official, at least, that's how I felt - my concerns were heard and responded to with warmth and respect. Maybe next time, I won't be so nervous! Anyway, according to his office here in MA, Congressman Neal is aware of the implications in this law for the resale of children's toys, clothes, and books, which is a good start. Where this will go from here depends on you:

Please find out who your Congressperson is, and either pick up the phone or follow the link above to send him or her a letter about this issue. And thanks!


Chili said...

From CPSC's website:

"The new law requires that domestic manufacturers and importers certify that children’s products made after February 10 meet all the new safety standards and the lead ban. Sellers of used children’s products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard or new toy standards."

The Stone Age Techie said...

I felt comforted by this too at first, until I went on to read that they'd still face prosecution if it turns out that they sold something containing lead. I think, as a shop owner, I would choose to toss anything likely rather than face the risk - and then the question becomes, what's 'likely?'
We'll have to see how this one plays out, I guess. I hope I'm worrying for nothing!