Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I Might Move to Canada After All

It would seem that our government has now outlawed hand-me-downs.  Middle children of America will rejoice, right? Maybe not.

I've been hearing about the CPSIA in drips and drabs for a couple of months. I was concerned at first, because I do like to buy wooden/ organic/ not plastic playthings for my child and these new rules would make it hard for small and European toy makers to do business in these United States. I wasn't alarmed though, because I can't get worked up about buying new toys when my house is overrun by them. What most people don't realize is that the CPSIA made short, lazy work of the whole toxic toy problem by simply requiring that ANYTHING meant for use by ANYONE under the age of 12  be unit tested for lead and other chemicals. Minnesota Matron opened my eyes this morning to what this really means for frugal, environmentally responsible families. It means resale is dead. Thrift stores, consignment shops, local Mothers' Sales and even garage sales will be in violation of the law if they cannot prove that the items they are selling are free of lead and phthalates. They will, of course, not be able to do this. Third party testing can cost $4000 per item.

I am as worried about lead as the next Mommy. Violet had a slightly elevated lead level two years ago and we replaced dishes and our bathtub (it needed to be done anyway) and checked recall lists for all of her suspicious toys. I read a ton about where to find hidden lead and not one of the resources I checked suggested that I send my child's wardrobe off to be tested.  I know that snaps and rhinestones and buttons and whatnot could potentially contain lead, but this is misplaced paranoia as far as I'm concerned.  It goes too far. The cotton dresses and leggings that I find on the racks of my favorite thrift store are more likely to have bugs lurking in the seams than lead and phthalates. That's why I wash them when I get home. I  take full responsibility for the minimal risk involved in second hand clothing.

I have already written to my congressman to let him know how I feel about this stupidly written law. I hope that you will do the same. Here are some helpful links.

The End of Secondhand Clothes for Our Children

Handmade Toy Alliance

Save Handmade 

Write Your Representative



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