“We’ve had a number of children die in our country last year because of lead on products that had been imported primarily from China. So, there was a new attempt to look at lead testing and in the process of trying to address the dangers of lead content in some products in this country, we inadvertently caught thrift store in this net,” McCaskill said.
Valerie from The Bookroom did some thorough fact-checking of the Senator's statements, to see just how bad the problem of lead poisoning has been. Her discovery:
There is no report of any child poisoned by children’s products in 2008...
[...W]as Senator McCaskill talking about 2007? No again. There is no report of any child poisoned by children’s products in 2007. In fact, lead poisoning from children’s toys, clothing, and books is unknown. It simply doesn’t happen...
Meanwhile this misbegotten legal steamroller continues to flatten the very kind of initiative that we all need right now more than ever, the optimistic spirit of "can-do" enterprise that does so much to define American exceptionalism, our neighbors' admirable trait of choosing hope in the face of despair. One by one, the lights are going out, from Hawaii....:
In Kailua, little Raven Mollison holds what's left of her mom's at-home business. "It's the last doll that my mom made so she gave it to me," she said.
Her mom Denise, ran a doll shop to pay for Raven's medical supplies. The eight-year-old has Russell Silver Syndrome, which stunts her growth.
"I'm very sad that she's shut it down out of business," said Raven.
But Denise says she has no choice. A new anti-lead law calls for safety tests she can't afford. "Parents and consumers are hesitant to purchase my products and truthfully I don't blame them. If I could provide the certification then everything would be fine but my hands are tied," said Mollison.
In response to critics who call the law a job-killer, CPSC [Consumer Product Safety Commission]has issued a stay of enforcement which puts testing requirements on hold for a year until it can work out a compromise. But business owners must still abide by the new lead limits.
"The snag here is they're saying 'don't test but follow the guidelines'. You can't be sure you're following the guidelines unless you test so it's a catch 22," said Mollison.
A Kidd's Dream, located at Oak and Court streets, will close on Feb. 9, the day before the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act goes into effect. Brenda Kidd and daughter Gayla Wade opened the business, a children's consignment shop, in February 2007.
Kidd said, "We will be held criminally and civilly responsible for anything sold that does not meet the new requirements."
Taunya Kidd, another daughter of Brenda Kidd, was helping her mother and sister last week at the store's going-out-of-business sale.
"The only ones it's not going to affect are the ones who were importing from China in the first place," she said. "Mattel can easily afford to test one (toy) from each lot. We kept waiting for them to make an exemption or an exception, but all they did was say 'you're not our primary target, but you still have to follow the law.'"
She added, "This is the first thing you see when you come downtown. I hate that it's going to be sitting empty."
Local Goodwill stores will no longer sell many children's clothes, toys and other items, citing liability concerns over new federal safety regulations that take effect today.
Painted toys and clothing with metal clasps or fasteners -- including blue jeans, coats and hooded jackets for children 12 and younger -- were pulled from store shelves Monday night, said Gayle Goetz, vice president of development for Goodwill Industries Easter Seals of Kansas.
Goodwill officials worry that fewer products will mean fewer sales, which will mean less money raised for people with disabilities and others the nonprofit group helps.
Right now, though, shoppers -- including many who see thrift stores as a way to stretch their dollars during hard economic times -- are likely to feel the most effect.
"There's a lot of people whose income has dropped, but their children keep growing," Goetz said. "So, 'Now I need another size of blue jeans, and I can't get them at Goodwill.' It's unfortunate."
Where does it end?