New Law Protects Children from Phthalates and Lead


The past year has been a bad one for toxic kid’s products, what with lead paint on imported toys and phthalates in plastic toys. For once, Congress has been quick to act.

A new law is set to go in effect on February 10th that will require all products such as toys, backpacks, clothing and other kids’ gear be tested for lead and phthalates in order to be legally sold.

This is a major step towards ensuring non-toxic products for little ones, but there was also a little scare for children’s thrift and consignment shops and DIY resellers like those found on Etsy (many of them being work-at-home-moms). Had they been required to pay for the expensive testing, most of them would have immediately been put out of business. And it would have dealt a financial blow to the large number of families in an economic crunch who depend on thrift and consignment shops to clothe their fast-growing children.

After hearing a huge consumer response, Congress quickly added a notice that vendors of second-hand children’s goods would be exempt from testing for lead or phthalates.

So what does this mean for thrifty, recycling-minded shoppers? When buying second-hand, use good judgment. Most clothing is safe enough, but avoid metal buttons that may contain lead or parts that can easily break and leach chemicals if a child puts it in their mouth. And when it comes to used toys, cribs and other children’s items, it would probably be best to avoid any imported or plastic products altogether.

Do your research, be smart, and rest assured that as this law goes into effect, safer products will be entering the second-hand product stream, and that’ll make the eco-friendly option of buying gently-used just that much better.

Image: notic