CPSIA Update: Goodwill Takes Its Case to Capitol Hill

By April 23, 2009Regulations

Representatives Goodwill Industries will hold their annual Advocacy Day next Tuesday, April 28th, on Capitol Hill. According to a news release, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is one of Goodwill’s legislative priorities:

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA): Goodwill supports a common sense solution to CPSIA that protects children and allows Goodwill to continue to provide job training programs and career placement services at the level that local communities need in these tough economic times. Goodwill recommends that Congress pass legislation that excludes used children’s products from the CPSIA. We urge lawmakers to remove the retroactive language from the legislation, therefore making it applicable to only products manufactured after February 10, 2009.

In related thrift store news, from Wisconsin, the Sauk Prairie Eagle, “St. Vincent de Paul pulls toys from its shelves“:

Kids hoping to give gently used Barbie dolls, Matchbox cars and G.I. Joes a new home will have to go somewhere other than the St. Vincent de Paul Store in Prairie du Sac.

Because of concerns about the possible high lead content of children’s toys and frequent manufacturer recalls, St. Vincent de Paul is getting out of the toy business.

St. Vincent’s General Manager Karen Fabisiak said selling toys is no longer worth the risk.

“You just don’t want a child getting sick or having a problem,” Fabisiak said.

Fabisiak said the store is voluntarily complying with a federal law that went into effect Feb. 10, even though the law doesn’t affect resale shops like St. Vincent’s.

Alas, that’s just not the case, Ms. Fabisiak. The law DOES apply to resale shops, as this CPSC guidance clearly shows.

In any case, there’s a source of affordable toys in south-central Wisconsin, just gone. Tough luck, poor kids.

But Congress intended this result, right? Well, we just looked through the Congressional debate in 2008 on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, and found not a single reference to thrift stores removing children’s toys or clothing from the shelves. The conference report does mention increasing the CPSC’s budget for outreach to inform thrift stores about recalled toys, but that’s a different issue. And that’s the only mention of “thrift” in the context of the CPSIA.

UPDATE: More good detail in the story:

Fabisiak said the store considered buying a hand-held lead detector, but that it couldn’t afford the $36,775 one would cost.

The store is still selling children’s books and stuffed animals, and the St. Vincent de Paul in Baraboo continues to sell toys.

Not to pick on people just trying to the right thing, but selling children’s books? Better not be any published before 1985.

Here’s a two-page fact sheet on the CPSIA outlawing used children’s books from Carol Baicker-McKee.

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