Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Unintendend Consequences

My brother-in-law talked on his blog about how sometimes the government writes laws which wind up having consequences which were not intended. I believe this may have happened, and will affect all of us.

I got an e-mail yesterday about how after Feb. 10 no used children's clothes will be able to be sold at garage sales, thrift stores, on Craigslist or anywhere else unless each piece is tested for lead after a law was passed banning lead-based children's items. Thinking surely it must be a hoax, I did some research on it this morning, and have come to the conclusion that it is actually true. Here is an article about it posted in the LA Times:,0,2083247.story

I am a little confused that this has not received more attention- there should be HUGE public outcry- this is absolutely insane! Can you imagine the landfills when all of us are forced to throw all of our baby clothes in the dumpster instead of passing them on to friends/family??? Also, don't our police have better things to do like arresting drug trafficers instead of worrying about baby clothes smugglers???

Organizations are trying to get Congress to clarify the law to exempt clothes, and here is a site where you can send an e-mail directly to your senators:

Because I do believe this is true, I think it is a major issue. I think the idea behind the law was to make children safer- who wouldn't vote on that bill? but that the unintended consequences will greatly afffect us all in a negative way. If you have information that this actually was a hoax, please let me know!!! Otherwise I might be going to the thrift store on Feb. 9 to buy lots of boy clothes (just in case we have a boy...).

And if anyone is having a girl who has had a boy and wants to swap clothes if we do end up having a boy, I am all for it!!!!


  1. This is one of the many instances when lawmakers decided that the best way to deal with a big deal in the news (all the lead-filled toys and other hazardous items being imported from overseas) was to immediately draft a law about it. Unfortunately, hastily-drafted laws can have a lot of the aforementioned unforeseen consequences.

    Another consequence that I have read about from this lead testing law is that a lot of small toymakers are going to be put out of business because they don't have the money to test every single item that they manufacture. One guy that they talked to in particular makes hand-made wooden toys which he then sells. No imported parts, no lead paint, no nothing. And yet, under this new law, he is required to test every single item for lead. The cost of the testing makes it impossible for him to make a profit. It's utterly ridiculous. A little more clarification or forethought in the legislation would have been much better than the current state of things.

  2. I absolutely, totally agree with you- it is really sad, but because it is now law, it is not so easy to change. I hope they will get this problem fixed!!! And, I hope people (politicians) realize that it is actually good when lawmakers take a long time to draft a law rather then quickly writing one up without looking at all of the angles!!!! UGHHH!!!!

  3. This is laughable at best...and sad.

    On a personal level (like friend-to-friend or family-to-family), I don't have the faintest idea of how they will regulate this.

  4. I really respect Dave's research and comments on the issue. I am so mad! Not only do I buy almost exclusively clothes for my two year old at our local consignment store, I am a garage sale junky. I also support this habit by reselling some of the good finds on Craig's list. I sent letters to Sen. Patty Murray and the Presidency. I hope that some common sense prevails and that already made inventory will be able to be used.

  5. Great points! There was a debate about whether the law would be retroactive, and it was determined that it was. You are probably right that it wouldn't affect hand-me-downs, and Jeremey is right in that how on earth are they going to regulate garage sales, but right now it does affect garage sales (which really makes me sad because there are a number of charities here that rely on once-a-year children's sales to fund their programs). However, I did hear one person say that you could just sell your items as "collectables" and avoid all those laws, so maybe that will happen.

    Why can't they just put a warning label on the clothes stands that says they haven't been tested? Smoking kills far more people then clothes, and they aren't illegal- they have a warning label and they're ok. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Hopefully, they will come up with some quick clarifications or else Ben and I will be going dumpster diving at the local thriftstores on Feb. 9!

  6. Wow! I can't believe this! I watch the news every day and I've never heard anything about this. It's absolutely insane.

  7. I never heard of this before. I"m hanging on to all my bins full of boy clothes. This isn't my last pregnancy and I'd love more boys. I guess I know where you'll be this year on Cache's birthday! ;) I shop ONLY the clearance racks for baby clothes and I'm always quite proud of my bargains. :) I LOVE shopping for baby clothes, the newborn size is my FAVORITE! when you find out what you are having we'll go shoppin' together and I'll show you how fun shopping the clearance racks is! :D

  8. not a hoax, Glenn Beck talked about this last week.