Resale stores celebrate a reprieve

RALEIGH -- Thrift stores and consignment sales specializing in selling used toys and children's clothes got a reprieve Thursday when federal regulators clarified rules that could have put them out of business.

After waiting and wondering most of this week, the shops were told they won't have to run expensive tests for lead and phthalates, but will still be prohibited from selling items that exceed stricter limits for lead set by the new rules.

Regulations which go into effect Feb. 10 limit the amount of lead and phthalates -- an additive that's used to make plastics soft -- in toys, clothes and other products for children ages 12 and under. Lead isn't safe at any level in children and can cause lifelong troubles including problems in learning and behavior. Phthalates have been linked to birth defects, among other concerns.

he stricter mandates require that all new products be tested for both lead and phthalates. Any existing products already in the warehouse or on store shelves also must be tested for lead regardless of when they were made. If they haven't been tested, they're considered dangerous.

On Thursday, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said that resale shops do not need to test their merchandise to see whether their wares meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard or other new toy standards. But resale shops are still forbidden from selling products that exceed the new lead limit.

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