Sunday, January 11, 2009

Will the child lead law affect doll collectors?

I heard about the child lead law earlier this week. The law requires that sellers perform lead tests on children's toys and clothing, and will go into effect on February 10.

There has been some controversy concerning how this law will impact thrift stores and consignment stores. These stores can't afford to do the expensive testing, and are therefore worried about not being able to stay in business.

This article claims that the child lead law isn't intended for thrift stores, and won't affect how they do business. However, a few lines in this article hint that the law is vague enough that it could still be used against resellers.

Here's an excerpt from the second article:

This week they issued a clarification to the law for re-sellers of children's products. It stated, "the new safety law does not require re-sellers to test children's products in inventory for compliance with the lead limit before they are sold. However, sellers cannot sell children's products that exceed the lead limit and therefore should avoid products that are likely to have lead content, unless they have testing or other information to indicate the products being sold have less than the new limit. Those re-sellers that do sell products in violation of the new limits could face civil and/or criminal penalties."

"When I first read it, it thought, this is nice," says Radicella. "It says, yes, you may sell things. You don't have to test for lead, but you can't sell something that has lead. Well, if we don't test, how do we know if it has lead?"

I've been worried about this because of the way it could possibly affect vintage doll and toy collectors. I don't think it would affect private resellers, such as eBay sellers. But how will it affect the antique stores and thrift stores where some of us collectors get vintage dolls and toys?

The problem is that many vintage toys do have, or can be suspected of having, lead in them. And the law specifies that thrift stores shouldn't sell "products that are likely to have lead content," or they could be at risk for "civil and/or criminal penalties."

I don't know if there is anything in the law exempting selling these items as collectibles, but there should be.

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