Some small business owners in Maine say a new federal law designed to protect the health of children is forcing them to scale back their operations because the compliance costs are too high.
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which takes effect Feb. 10, requires that all products for children 12 and younger be tested for lead and chemicals used to soften plastics.
Jennifer Houghton, owner of The Little Hat Co. in South Berwick, says it could cost up to $2,000 to test each of the components in a new hat, which her business cannot afford.
As a result, Houghton is holding a fire sale to dump her inventory of children’s hats by Feb. 9 and is switching her business to adult hats.
Lawmakers have said that under the new act, store owners would not be held responsible for the testing of merchandise, but they would be responsible ifa sold itemconatined too much lead.