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Trendy-but-toxic furniture sold in Park Slope contains lead-based paint that puts kids at risk, worried parents say.
Some pieces of rustic furniture made from recycled barn wood at Trailer Park — a hip home-furnishing shop on Sterling Place near Sixth Avenue — tested at more than six times the legal limit for lead levels in products, according to parents who say they hired inspectors and conducted at-home tests.
In one case, Heather Hamilton — a mom who has a one-year-old — purchased a weatherworn bench and a table from the store, both decorated with chipped paint.
A blood test later showed her tot had “excessive” lead exposure levels, so she set out to find the toxic source in her home.
“I was so distraught,” she said. “I flipped out and hired a lead inspector.”
She says the expert pinpointed two culprits: the bench and table, which were handmade by Amish craftsmen from 100-year-old wood recycled from a barn.
And Hamilton isn’t the only one who’s worried.
Jill Penman, a mother of two, bought a white cabinet from the same shop in 2010 then conducted an at-home test with a swab after she had a baby. She claims the cabinet, which she kept in her kid’s playroom, contained more than 600 parts per million of lead — far in excess of the nationwide cap of 90 parts per million in all household goods manufactured after 2009.
“There was lead dust all over the floor where my toddler had been crawling,” Penman said. “It’s frustrating and scary.”
Lead exposure can cause stomachaches, hearing loss, and brain damage in extreme cases.
The custom-made furniture in question must follow the same rules even though the materials come pre-coated in paint from an earlier era when higher lead levels were legal, according to Consumer Product Safety Commission spokeswoman Patty Davis.
“Any product manufactured after 2009 must comply,” she said.
Trailer Park owner Chris Houghton said he has received calls from parents who are concerned about the furniture, but he claims any lead exposure cannot be solely linked to his products.
“You can’t say it’s just my furniture — there are so many other factors,” he said.
Houghton added that many products at his shop are made from freshly cut wood — not just recycled materials.
“If you have a child, and you’re concerned about it, don’t buy it,” he said.Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at email@example.com or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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