Blog: Leonie BarrieLead rules threaten clothing jobs

Leonie Barrie | 5 February 2009

“Bankrupting small businesses is no way to stimulate the economy,” is how one full-page ad in the Hill newspaper in Washington has reacted to a new law limiting the lead content of consumer products which is due to take effect on Tuesday.

“One week until runaway federal regulations shutter NYC kids clothing manufacturers, cost thousands of jobs,” was the headline to a press release sent out by the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Childrenswear (CSAC).

Such is the level of concern over the new rules that hundreds of protestors took to the streets of central Manhattan this week to call for an extension to the deadline for the lead standard.  

They fear the rules included in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will force millions of safe products to be taken off store shelves, devastating hundreds of local small businesses.

The new regulations would retroactively apply a new lead standard and testing program for children’s clothing already on store shelves and in the inventory pipeline, says the CSAC, forcing manufacturers to take back upwards of $500m in returns of safe products. 

The groups want a six-month delay on the start date of the law, which they believe is ill-conceived and almost impossible for small firms to implement. If not, they say, the lead regulations will kill thousands of jobs. 


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