Doll shop closes despite temporary hold on anti-lead law

Raven Mollison
Raven Mollison
Denise Mollison
Denise Mollison

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

KAILUA (KHNL) - Some possible relief for those who sell children's products, from toys to clothes.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a temporary stay on the controversial anti-lead law that takes effect February 10.

But, even with the stay, a doll shop on the Windward side of Oahu says it will still be forced to close.

In Kailua, little Raven Mollison holds what's left of her mom's at-home business.

"It's the last doll that my mom made so she gave it to me," she said.

Her mom Denise, ran a doll shop to pay for Raven's medical supplies. The eight-year-old has Russell Silver Syndrome, which stunts her growth.

"I'm very sad that she's shut it down out of business," said Raven.

But Denise says she has no choice. A new anti-lead law calls for safety tests she can't afford.

"Parents and consumers are hesitant to purchase my products and truthfully I don't blame them. If I could provide the certification then everything would be fine but my hands are tied," said Mollison.

In response to critics who call the law a job-killer, CPSC has issued a stay of enforcement which puts testing requirements on hold for a year until it can work out a compromise. But business owners must still abide by the new lead limits.

"The snag here is they're saying 'don't test but follow the guidelines'. You can't be sure you're following the guidelines unless you test so it's a catch 22," said Mollison.

For Raven's sake, Denise is launching a new business.

"My only life raft is making wristlets until this mess is resolved," Denise said.

"It's very important so then I can get feeding more, so then I can grow," said Raven.

On Thursday, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint introduced a bill to reform the law, saying "Congress has overreacted and threatened to kill thousands of jobs, small businesses and harm charities around the country. We simply cannot allow this law to go unreformed."

DeMint's reforms would allow small businesses to use certification from suppliers and manufacturers.

That way people like Mollison won't have to shoulder the costs of testing.

Congress passed the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act of 2008 last Fall after a lead paint scare in children's toys made in China.

The act bans children's items containing more than 600 parts per million total lead.

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.