Unleaded! Slope shop stops selling potentially toxic furniture

Parents: Slope store sells furniture coated in lead-based paint
Courtesy of Jill Penman

A Park Slope shop owner is pulling salvaged-wood furniture off the shelves after parents claimed it contained lead-based paint that’s dangerous to kids.

Chris Houghton — owner of the rustic home furnishing store Trailer Park on Sterling Place near Sixth Avenue — says he will no longer sell furniture made from recycled barn wood that was slathered with lead-based paint decades ago, before public health regulations limited the use of the heavy metal.

“This is a big deal to me,” he said. “I don’t want to hurt kids — I have kids.”

Houghton is now working with a consumer safety group, which may recall the product.

The move comes after benches, tables and cabinets — which are new but made from century-old painted wood — tested well above the legal limit for lead levels in consumer goods, according to parents who hired lead inspectors and conducted at-home tests.

In one case, mom Heather Hamilton says she discovered that her one-year-old had “excessive” levels of lead exposure. An inspector pinpointed a weatherworn bench and table that Hamilton had purchased from the store as the source of the toxic scare, she said.

In another instance, mother Jill Penman conducted an at-home swab test of a chipped white cabinet from Trailer Park and claims it contained more than 600 parts per million of lead — at least six times more than the legal limit of 90 parts per million.

Houghton says he’s deeply concerned about the health risk and and has spent hours on the phone with consumer health officials since The Brooklyn Paper first reported the story two weeks ago.

He said his shop still sells some furniture — but not the type made from the painted barn wood.

That’s a relief to parents, who say shoppers in the kid-centric neighborhood should be in the know about potentially toxic products.

“I’m glad people are aware now,” Penman said. “Most parents don’t know that new furniture could pose a risk.”

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at [email protected] or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.