New lead law on kid's items threatens to close local doll shop - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New lead law on kid's items threatens to close local doll shop

Raven Mollison Raven Mollison
Denise Mollison Denise Mollison

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

KAILUA (KHNL) - A month from Saturday, a new ban on children's products contaminated with lead takes effect. The law calls for safety tests many businesses say they can't afford.

On Windward Oahu, there's a doll shop that could shut down once the ban kicks in.

For Denise Mollison, the dolls she makes are more than just an at-home business. They're a lifeline for her daughter Raven.

"I have a tummy tube that I got a long time ago so I use these stuff to hook up so I can grow like a grown up," said Raven.

"My income, though small, is required to supplement my daughter's health care," said Mollison.

Eight-year-old Raven is not much bigger than her four-year-old-sister. She was born with Russell Silver Syndrome, coming into the world at only two pounds, eight inches. It stunts Raven's growth, though hardly hinders her spirit.

"When I play a game and stuff like dodge ball, they can barely hit me," she said proudly.

But a new law could hit Mollison's doll shop, The Lucky Pebble LLC, with a financial blow. Starting February 10, children's items containing more than 600 parts per million total lead will be banned in the United States. By August 14, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that limit will drop to 300 ppm.

Mollison says mandatory certification is costly.

"Testing starts at $150 per color variant, so for example with this doll, you have 8 different color variants here, 8 different components, and so 8 times $150, you do the math, and I just can't afford to comply with those new standards," said Mollison.

Mollison is part of the Handmade Toy Alliance, a national group asking Congress for a technical amendment that would allow manufacturers to conduct the tests.

"This means that we could afford to comply because we simply ask for certification from the manufacturer who makes the fabrics and supplies that we use on our products," said Mollison.

The mother of three is all for protecting kids from lead, but can't survive without a cost-effective way to prove her dolls are safe.

"It's really important because I don't want her to shut down and go out of business," said Raven.

Businesses that sell used children's items, such as thrift stores, are not required to test their products. But they cannot resell them if they exceed the lead limit.

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