The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) was an important contribution in efforts to strengthen product safety laws to make sure only safe and compliant children’s products are sold. While well-intentioned, if the CPSIA goes into effect unaltered on February 10, 2009, it may force not-for-profit resale and thrift stores like Volunteers of America of Western New York to discontinue the sale of all children’s items, including clothing, outerwear, footwear, and books.
It does not appear that the impact to resellers of children’s goods or the families who rely on those resellers was considered in the writing of this law. With the current dire state of the economy, the resale industry provides an affordable alternative for people who are struggling financially to purchase clothing, shoes, and books for their children.
We urge Congress and the Consumer Product Safety Commission to consider exclusions for used apparel and other products that are inherently lead free. Specifically, Volunteers of America of Western New York would like to see an exemption for resale and thrift stores included in the CPSIA, allowing them to sell second-hand children’s clothing, outerwear, footwear, and books. We are in favor of better safety standards but do not feel they should be designed to threaten the viability of our industry. These regulations need to be relaxed to make it possible to conduct a safe, appropriate and healthy business supplying children’s products.
Volunteers of America of Western New York is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential. Since 1896, our ministry of service has supported and empowered America’s most vulnerable groups, including homeless individuals and families, and at-risk children.
Volunteers of America operates 10 re-sale stores in Upstate New York. The revenue generated from the sale of donated items at VOA stores helps fund programs like emergency housing, children and family services, homelesness intervention and the Working Wardrobe.
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