Consignment Shop Owners Concerned About New Lead Law

MONTGOMERY, AL., (WSFA) -- Donna Johnson loves a good bargain. She buys most of her son's clothes and "about 50% of his toys and books," at consignment shops.

One of her favorite places to shop is Doodlebug's in Wetumpka. Owner Sonya Caver holds two consignment sales every year. "We have several families with a large amount of kids that depend on Doodlebug's and other consignment stores to outfit their families," she told WSFA 12 News.

When Caver and Johnson heard about the lead law they grew concerned. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act requires children's products to have fewer than 600 parts per million total lead. We're talking clothes, toys, books and more - new or used.

Consignment and thrift shops, like Caver's, aren't required to test their products like manufacturers are. However, if they do sell those items that exceed the limit, they could face legal troubles. Caver questions: how will she know if she doesn't test? She says,"If the law isn't changed, we won't be able to have a business because we won't be able to police the law to know whether the lead is in those items."

Johnson hopes for a compromise that will keep shoppers happy and healthy. She says, "I just can't believe it's happening and it's going to happen so soon."

The new law takes effect February 10th.  Then in August, the lead limit drops to 300 parts per million.

Montgomery's Goodwill and Salvation Army say they are waiting for their national headquarters to decide how the law will affect them. The Salvation Army store in Prattville already doesn't sell toys anymore due to previous lead concerns.