Today’s news:

Lead-based paint on furniture

Parents: Slope store sells furniture coated in lead-based paint

The Brooklyn Paper

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 noneill@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

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adamben from bedstuy says:
“If you have a child, and you’re concerned about it, don’t buy it,” he said.

i for one will never buy anything from that schmuck and will tell everyone in my neighborhood and those in others, including park slope.
June 29, 2012, 11:10 am
John Wasserman from Astoria says:
I hate to be the one to tell you this, but this big scare of lead paint is all politcs. I, for one, remember when I was a child:
My favorite glass to drink from, the "Grimmace", sold from Mcdonald's restaraunts. I sipped from this glass my whole life and it never had any effect on me.
June 29, 2012, 11:38 am
marie from prospect heights says:
Maybe this guy should put a sign on his furniture that stating that the furniture is covered in lead paint. His response of “If you have a child, and you’re concerned about it, don’t buy it" doesn't help if you don't know it's there. . .
June 29, 2012, 12:03 pm
Amanda Johnson from Park Slope says:
If you haven't noticed, lots of buildings in Park Slope are kinda old. The likelihood of being exposed to lead dust is nearly 100%. If you don't like that reality, please move to a pre-fab McMansion in NJ built within the last 10 years.
June 29, 2012, 1 pm
Chris Houghton from Park Slope says:
To Our Customers:

My staff and I at Trailer Park take a lot of care to make sure everything we sell is good quality. Since 1998, we’ve earned a reputation for being a responsible neighbor and asset to our community, and someone you can trust. We want you to know that we care about you, and want you to be informed about your purchases at Trailer Park, as well as any other furniture store you visit.

Some recent news has stated that my shop sold furniture that tested positive for lead. Unfortunately, my comments were edited and did not include my expression of concern for parents and everyone who shops at my store. In addition, it is important for our customers to know the following:

As you may know, some paint (and therefore painted furniture) made before 1978 in the U.S. may contain lead paint.Trailer Park sells exclusively vintage and recycled furniture, some of which was built, painted or handcrafted before 1978. Therefore, there is a possibility that these items may contain lead.

We post a disclaimer about this, as required by law, for all customers to read.

For your convenience, we also sell many items that are unfinished and do not contain any paint, in addition to items painted with new, water-based paint. We truly appreciate your business and hope that you understand that we mean no harm.

If you have any further concerns, please contact me at christrailerparkslope .com, or stop by the shop.

Chris Houghton, Owner
June 29, 2012, 5:05 pm
Hipsterminator from Billyworld says:
With a trusted name like “Trailer Park Furniture”, you know you are getting the best.

See how long it takes until the city closes him down.
June 29, 2012, 6:44 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
Ah, the hipsters who were stupid enough to buy this crap have turned into Yuppies and have turned on you. You must be paying a ton of rent. Best to pack up and move to.....oh.....say Bushwick. Hipsters are just starting to move in there. Just use words like "locally sourced". "artisinal" and "Brooklyn Based" or "sustainable" and the heard will snap this stuff right up. Just pick the wood up out of any garbage pile and the staycationers will buy it.
June 29, 2012, 8:06 pm
Lisa from Park Slope says:
Trailer Park is a wonderful store run by supremely caring people. I have been buying furniture from Chris and Eileen and the thoughtful staff of Trailer Park since they opened in 1998.

I have never thought to ask if an item contained lead paint for two reasons. The first: it is an antique and vintage furniture store and so anything with paint is old and old paint is, I assume, lead paint. That's what paint used to be made out of. When I read that people were shocked to discover this, I wondered if they are also shocked to discover that sandwiches come on bread when they order them at a restaurant.

The second reason: there's a disclaimer hanging in their store that addresses lead paint concerns.

Is the Brooklyn Paper running an article on every other vintage store in Park Slope, Fort Green, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Prospect Heights, Williamsburg, the East Village, the West Village, every single neighborhood in New York? Because it looks like they're singling out Trailer Park to me. And that doesn't look like fair reporting.

The owners of Trailer Park are model neighbors and business owners of integrity, taste, sincerity, and care. I have returned an item or two over the years that just didn't work in my house, and my experience each time was the same: no problem, easy interaction, agreeable, amenable, and caring.
June 29, 2012, 8:17 pm
Adam f from Park slope says:
These last two comments are really ignorant. As someone who has been a customer of this store for over 6 years, I can attest that you'd be hard pressed to meet nicer or mee hard working people. The "trendy" and "hipster" comments are pretty stupid since these guys have been in park slope for years before it was the yuppie haven it is today. The point of the article/story is that we all need to acknowledge that antiques were painted with lead paint. The things these people manufacturer through their relations with the Amish aren't painted or created with lead paint. They use recycled barn lumber. Who knew? I sure didn't and having had many trips to this place for occasional items for our home, I'd bet anything that the store was in the dark also.

These "pack up an move on" comments are ridiculous, as you people act like trailer park is some fly by night business. They are a staple in the community and really good people with character. Not to mention, anyone with an education understands that lead paint was everywhere when we were kids... Are you kidding? Part hype, part misquote on behalf of the reporter and part crappy situation.

I wouldn't be surprised if the neighborhood rallies behind them.

And yes, it's tragic that this woman claims her child was injured. I can't comment as I have no insight.
June 29, 2012, 8:27 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
Yeah Adam.....looks like the neighborhood is rallying behind them.....by calling the board of health. Did you actually read the article?
June 29, 2012, 8:33 pm
Adam from Paek slope says:
Yes. I read it. Nowhere in the article does it say that the board of health was called. It mentions an independent inspector. I also read the response from the store owners who were misquoted by Natalie. Not to mention, As Lisa stated, the store posts a disclaimer, which is what is required by law. I'm not downplaying that people are upset, but by common legal definition, this doesn't constitute any form of negligence on behalf of the store owners. Putting barnwood furniture in a child's room isn't a lot different than giving your kid a toy from the 50's to play with.

You should go troll somewhere else, my friend. Your comments are judgemental and not based on facts - which is your right, but doesn't make you look too credible or logical.

And no, I'm not a hipster or a yuppie - just a guy that knows this store, knows the law, and can't stand idiots like you.
June 29, 2012, 10:01 pm
Robert Penman from Somerville, MA says:
Three simple facts are laid out in this article.

Fact One: The cabinet my sister purchased contained 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.

Fact Two: Custom-made furniture in question must follow the same cap rules, even though the materials come pre-coated in paint from an earlier era.

Fact Three: My two nephews (ages four and one respectively) were exposed to said cabinet for well over one year.

Mr. Houghton's willful negligence is the reason fact three ever occurred, and criminal and civil charges should be filed against him immediately.

Sincerely,

Robert Penman
246 Beacon Street
Somerville, MA 02139
Tel: 917-691-5946
June 29, 2012, 10:04 pm
Adam from Ps says:
Sincr the store sells custom made furniture crafted by Amish carpenters (the items in question), you are suggesting that criminal charges be brought against the Amish? Unless those kids have brain damage, and you could prove negligence, that the store owner knowing sold items with the lead count identified by the indepemdent inspector and that the "manufacture" date would be considered to be prior to the date in question. Recycled furniture could, in a court, be said to be comprised of items (the recycled parts) that were actually manufactured a century ago. Proving purposeful harm doesn't seem possible. Clearly a very expensive and probably not winnable jury case.
June 29, 2012, 10:12 pm
Pat I. from That 70's brooklyn says:
First of all - niceness has nothing to do with the fact that this guy is selling furniture that is harmful to children.

Second - putting a disclaimer up is horsesh*t. Because not everyone will see it. I don't see any seafood restaurants that put up signs warning about the risks of choking on a fish bone or getting food poisoning from a bad mussel.

Third - do the dipsh*t like yah transplants who nail this crap together and sell it to you know we're they're getting their materials? Do they know the laws and codes for designing and building kid's furniture?

Fourth- Once and for all let's stop with the smug, holier-than-thou eco warrior nonsense. You sell furniture made from wood and other materials found in junk yards, old factories, etc. BECAUSE IT'S FREE. Plain and simple. and the Park Slope pay a premium so they can flaunt their purchases to their a**hole friends. It's identity politics - pure and simple. What your doing is dangerous and irresponsible...no different than the urban colonialists who grow veggies on the back forty of ye olde Pfizer chemical plant.

Fifth- There are many safe ways to obtain the hipster reclaimed lumber look. As a hobbyist who can go from tree to furntiure using nothing but handtools one can use non-toxic milkpaint that is then distressed. Oh but then you'd actually have to go out and buy lumber. There goes your weekly craftbrew stipend.

Finally: Trailer Park furniture? Is the name intended to be ironic..making fun of those less fortunate because your furniture is comprised mostly of glow-in the dark scraps found on the site of a radium watch dial factory? Like the bearded tatted up trustafarian beta males who wear trucker caps and drink PBR.

Eco friendly my a**.
June 29, 2012, 10:17 pm
Pat I. from That 70's brooklyn says:
First of all - niceness has nothing to do with the fact that this guy is selling furniture that is harmful to children.

Second - putting a disclaimer up is horsesh*t. Because not everyone will see it. I don't see any seafood restaurants that put up signs warning about the risks of choking on a fish bone or getting food poisoning from a bad mussel.

Third - do the dipsh*t like yah transplants who nail this crap together and sell it to you know we're they're getting their materials? Do they know the laws and codes for designing and building kid's furniture?

Fourth- Once and for all let's stop with the smug, holier-than-thou eco warrior nonsense. You sell furniture made from wood and other materials found in junk yards, old factories, etc. BECAUSE IT'S FREE. Plain and simple. and the Park Slope pay a premium so they can flaunt their purchases to their a**hole friends. It's identity politics - pure and simple. What your doing is dangerous and irresponsible...no different than the urban colonialists who grow veggies on the back forty of ye olde Pfizer chemical plant.

Fifth- There are many safe ways to obtain the hipster reclaimed lumber look. As a hobbyist who can go from tree to furntiure using nothing but handtools one can use non-toxic milkpaint that is then distressed. Oh but then you'd actually have to go out and buy lumber. There goes your weekly craftbrew stipend.

Finally: Trailer Park furniture? Is the name intended to be ironic..making fun of those less fortunate because your furniture is comprised mostly of glow-in the dark scraps found on the site of a radium watch dial factory? Like the bearded tatted up trustafarian beta males who wear trucker caps and drink PBR.

Eco friendly my a**.
June 29, 2012, 10:17 pm
Marko from Prospect park says:
Hipsters?

Lol. Seems more like country living:
http://www.countryliving.com/_mobile/antiques/expert-advice/lead-paint-antique-furniture

It's not cool that kids would be exposed to lead, but I guess at the same time I bet it isn't still that rare in Brooklyn. At least for us regular folk.

At least the country people seem to get it. Yeehaw
June 29, 2012, 10:26 pm
Joseph G. from Occupied Brooklyn says:
Park Slope=Pretentious Yuppie Sh*thole
June 29, 2012, 11:22 pm
SwampYankee from runined Brooklyn says:
Oh.....scared of you. Adam knows the law!!! So, now that there are about 10 legal jobs for every lawyer which coffee shop does your JD allow you to barista in? Children are getting hurt here Clarance Darrow. Trying to impress people with your worthless degree is not helpful. Maybe you should go back to school for your Masters in fly-fishing. It might allow you to move up to cupcake shop intern.
June 30, 2012, 6:48 am
Tim from Prospect Heights says:
The best thing about Park Slope being a "Pretentious Yuppie Sh*thole" filled with "dipsh*t" "transplants" who are "paying a ton of rent" is the fact that it keeps great thinkers and quality human beings like "SwampYankee", "Occupied Brooklyn", and "That 70s Brooklyn" out.
June 30, 2012, 8:22 am
SwampYankee from runined Brooklyn says:
You think so Tim? The only thing that has kept me from renting in Brooklyn is that I OWN in Brooklyn. And it's isn't in the phony-baloney "heights" part of Prospect Park Brooklyn either. Single family, garage and paid for. What —— box are your renting or co-oping in? As for the "70's" Yup, my family does date back to the "70's". The 1770's.
June 30, 2012, 9:22 am
SwampYankee from runined Brooklyn says:
Oh and Tim,
I am so glad you like a dynamic and changing Brooklyn. Always room for something new right? Well enjoy you new neighborhood over in the heights. Parking will be a dream and think of all the new visitors to your neighborhood. I heard that they are installing metal detectors in the new arena. First time that's been done in this country. It's all good, I'm sure the new crowd will be buying lots of hand crafted rescued wood furniture
June 30, 2012, 3:54 pm
M. Scott from Park Slope says:
I've lived on Sterling Place near 6th, right across the street from Trailer Park (a simply wonderful little store), since 1980.

On the day in 1998 that Chris Houghton opened Trailer Park, our whole block brightened up. He's no fly-by-night hipster, as some of the inappropriately spiteful comments here indicate, nor is he just some entrepreneur trying to make a buck: He's a mench of the first order, the kind of neighbor who would be the first to come running if needed. And he's the kind of store owner who wouldn't hesitate to make things right with any unhappy customer. I know, because my home is filled with lots of the delightful, quirky old vintage stuff he sells.

The lead-paint thing goes with the vintage furniture territory, and parents should know better, especially because businesses that sell old furniture are required to post information specifically addressing child-safety concerns. It seems to me that the histrionic Ms. O'Neill may have cherry-picked her facts... Chris posts the required notice in his store, and he no longer sells the Amish barn wood furniture discussed in the article. Also, he is a beloved, trusted friend and neighbor, not just to me but to many others here on the block.

I guess it's easy (and maybe cathartic) for the likes of SwampYankee, Pat I, Joseph G, et al, to express their unwarranted vitriol toward Chris and Trailer Park online under a cloak of invisibility.

I have no doubt that Chris and company will keep calm and carry on.
June 30, 2012, 5:25 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
M. Scott,
My vitriol? You say " and parents should know better". Sure is easy to blame the victim now that the damage is done. Sure, you love the cute store. The kid with the high lead level? Well like you say " parents should know better". I see you like "Quirky" and "vintage" stuff. Hipster much? Maybe my crowd is just sick of the hipster/ yuppie gentrification of a once great neighborhood.
June 30, 2012, 5:31 pm
M. Scott from Park Slope says:
More vitriol and histrionics. SwampThing, under cover of internet invisibility, again demonizes one complete stranger after another in a single bound....
June 30, 2012, 5:40 pm
Ken Lindley from Prospect Heights says:
Love Trailer Park's contributions to the neighborhood all these years. A little shocking that such vitriol against the store and its truly decent owners is so freely spewed by folks with so little information. Character assasination as sport. Sensational story lines to sell ad space in the local pennysaver.
June 30, 2012, 5:43 pm
Robert Penman from Somerville, MA says:
M. Scott's comment that parents should "know better" ignores one simple fact: Mr. Houghton broke the law by selling lead contaminated furniture not in compliance with a nationwide cap (90 parts per million) established in 2009.

Sincerely,

Robert Penman
246 Beacon Street
Somerville, MA 02139
Tel: 917-691-5946
June 30, 2012, 6:58 pm
Doug from Park Slope says:
This doesn't seem to change the fact that Trailer Park has a tendency to sell fairly mediocre stuff with HUGE price tags... shockingly expensive sometimes.
July 1, 2012, 3:40 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
go to a theatre built before 1980 and dream asbestos - i have a house full of 1940 - 50s stuff upstate and my kid is on the way to barnard - go figure - hey paint chips arent corn chips - seems like someone is looking to screw trailer park and i do agree with the posts about overprice crap, making fun of the less fortunate - what did you thing the stuff was made of - cotton candy - i have a jug ddt and wondering what to do with it
July 2, 2012, 10:03 pm
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
Have to wonder if the lease is coming up and the noble brooklyn paper is being fed by the landlord (do they own other properties that adverstise) to get them out. get them out so the new tennant can present a huge pr thing that they ridded slope form a baby killer and are so green you can do the ---- ---- -- you fill in the blanks and bring the lube- brooklyn paper - why not some foresnsic accounting instead of the money shot bj?
.
lets see how fast this gets deleted
July 2, 2012, 11:34 pm
Robert Penman from Somerville, MA says:
Separate and apart from Old time Brooklyn's spelling and grammatical errors, she/he also fails to understand that selling lead contaminated furniture is in violation of the law.

Sincerely,

Robert Penman
246 Beacon Street
Somerville, MA 02139
Tel: 917-691-5946
July 3, 2012, 1:38 am
Robert from Penman says:
When launching epithets, only cowards hide behind screen names, Malembi from BK.

Sincerely,

Robert Penman
246 Beacon Street
Somerville, MA 02139
Tel: 917-691-5946
July 3, 2012, 1:19 pm
Andrew from Park slope says:
I used to be a used furniture dealer until I retired. Unless the statute has changed, state law limits the sale of items with those higher lead thresholds to children's toys and children's furniture. Were these items marketed as children's furniture? If not, I don't understand the issue other than someone being an uninformed parent.
July 11, 2012, 7:21 pm
ADAM from Socialist and Fascist, USA says:
Yeah-- a zombit has come to life.

I see stuff like this and I have to comment. About the article- it does seem skewed and irresponsible. There is an epidemic of making sure everything is 'safe' and PC in this country that is becoming nauseating-- and frankly, even scary.

I can understand the anti-hipster rants. It's not just NY though, this kind of (non) culture is a part of this so-called social experiment we are in; it's really a part of a greater con, I believe.

I would kind of think one of these regular NYers might not be so quick to jump on the decision to invoke the 'let's protect the kids from everything in life'- thought that was largely part of the PC, opposite view to most of those people. Whatever, this life is full of hypocrisy.

So, someone's having hysterics and pointing blame to this one store owner; it does seem like there's a bias against this store. Oh, and 'It's the Law!'... I'm getting so sick of that BS- it's even worse in this post-911 garbage world we live in. This all speaks of a bigger and bigger police / security / conformist state.

And-- as far as the homogenization and gentrification in neighborhoods there in NY: I am a non-New Yorker, and I think it's a destruction of anything that made NY a place of character and spirit- it's good or bad. In other words-- BS.
Aug. 19, 2013, 2:59 am
Adam from Socialist and Fascist, USA says:
In other words- though I might not see eye to eye with a lot of you old style NYers on a personal level, I do see that what has made your neighborhoods places of personality and character is becoming replaced buy some kind of generic, commercialized, and phony social experiment that has a card up its sleeve; something that I think many people, hipsters included, will find is a bad deal once it's really laid on the table.

Fact is, there has been a deception going on about this country for a while- and only a few select have really 'gained' from it; meanwhile, the low-end chumps have been pawns in this game and fighting amongst themselves-- with most of their differences in so-called status and power as nothing compared to those in charge. See, that is the thing, these fools that think they have some high living or can afford trendy foods, etc.- these people are not much in the scheme of things, along with you working joes; to the people with the real 'power' I mean. Useful pawns, yes, but nothing of your worth as individuals.

Long way to say that I give my respect to the real deal and what I understood to make New York special; what it is becoming, along with other cities, is not the 'real deal' anymore. A SHOUT OUT to real neighborhoods and character- NOT a social experiment.
Aug. 19, 2013, 3:28 am

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