|
|
|
The Telegram
  • Regulations reach thrift stores

  • Two weeks ago the Goodwill & HARC store in Herkimer cleared its shelves of toys to comply with new Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations on children’s products.

    But that was just the beginning.

    • email print
  • Two weeks ago the Goodwill & HARC store in Herkimer cleared its shelves of toys to comply with new Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations on children’s products.
    But that was just the beginning.
    The product safety improvement act passed in February broadened the list of items which the federal oversight agency deemed unfit for sale to children. And although the main target of the new policy is large businesses, some of the smaller not-for-profits,  thrift stores, and charities are having to make major changes.
    “We were starting from scratch,” Mike Wein, HARC-Goodwill store manager, said referring to the toy department.
    Children’s clothing, jewelry, even a particular lunch bag with a lead lining also had to be discarded for containing elements mentioned in the act.
    “We went through the whole store and reviewed everything,” Wein said. It prompted a new motto, “When in doubt,  throw it out,” he added.
    The store then had to deal with how it accepted donations.
    Wein said it became a difficult situation in having to tell people looking to donate items they bought and used for their own children “it’s no good.”
    So the store’s policy had to mirror the CPSC’s act by posting an “important notice” at the donation entrance and in the toy department. The signs include a list and explanation of items no longer being accepted.
    Items covered in the notice included: strollers, car seats, baby carriers, baby cribs, baby beds, play pens, and play yards. The description of banned items reads, “Children’s products containing lead. Children’s clothing with metal and/or painted applique.  Painted wooden or metal toys. Unsafe children’s items, childrens jewelry, recalled items.”
    “We had to let people know we’re not taking donations of children’s toys or anything for infants,” Wein said. “We just can’t take it, there’s too many recalls to keep up with...and who’s got a lead detecting device to check everything,” he added.
    Scott Wolfson, CPSC spokesperson, said raising standards for lead content in basically all products, especially those used for infants, served as the main motivation behind the legislation; and as of February 10 the law went into effect bringing with it  a potential for hefty fines and legal remifications.
    But Wolfson explained by no means is the aim of the CPSC to impair the ability to do provide goods to consumers. “Charities, thrift stores, We’re not looking to put them out of business,” he said.
    The “multi-million dollar” fines are for “manufacturers and retailers,” Wolfson added, “Thrift stores, we want to help them make the good decisions.”
    However, it can be hard for organizations to keep up with recalls in order to benefit from the CPSC’s regulations.
    Page 2 of 2 - Terry Leonard, Catholic Charities director, said his office receives information on recalls and passes it along to Kateri’s Thrift Store in Little Falls.
    But some of the new standards have yet to reach him. “I haven’t seen any direct notification as far as new regulations,” Leonard said. He added that the store is already very mindful of any toys being recalled and safety standards.
    Wolfson said the CPSC does send out e-mail alerts, but he understands the many responsibilities of not for profits.
    “We just want ot let them know if they make that good faith effort they are moving in the right direction,” he said, “If it turns out a product or a set of products is still sold, we want to correct the situation.”

        calendar