A D.C. Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order yesterday against Neisner's, a downtown variety store, ordering the retailer to stop the sale of children's sleepwear containing the potentially hazardous flame-retardent chemical Tris.
Judge Alfred Burka issued the order yesterday morning at the request of the city's Consumer Protection Office, which alleged that the store had refused to remove the Tris-treated sleepwear when asked to do so on Tuesday by Edith Barksdale-Sloan, director of the consumer office.
Sloan said all the Tris-treated clothing has been removed, however, when she visited yesterday afternoon to see if the court order had been obeyed.
The court order was the latest action in an agressive week-long campaign waged by Slogan's office to assure compliance with the April 8 ban imposed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on the sale of Tris-treated children's clothing.
According to a report by Sloan's office, only four of 29 stores surveyed last week had removed all Tris-treated clothing from their shelves, while 16 were still selling the banned garments treated with the potential cancer-causing chemical more than two weeks after the federal order.
Sloan, in an affidavit to the court requesting the temporary order, said her office had removed against Neisner's, at 1114 G St. NW, because the store balked at removing approximately 50 Tris-treated garments when requested.All other stores indicated a willingness to remove such garments, she said.
Sloan said the sales supervisor at Neisner's to whom she made the request, "refused to remove the garments. This person refused to disclose her name." Earlier, Sloan said, she was a unsuccessful in her attempt to speak with the store manager.
No officials from Neisner's could be reached for comment yesterday.
Sloan said she also revisited three other stores yesterday where she had found Tris-treated garments on sale on Tuesday. All the garments had been removed from Woodward and Lothrop's 11th and F Street NW, Beyeda's Petites, 1118 F St. NW, and Lerner's 1111 F St. NW, she said.
When Sloan had visited the four stores earlier in the week she found garments made of acetate or triacetate blends on sale. All triacetate and acetate blends used in making children's sleepwear have been treated with Tris, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Labels on sleepwear do not specify the presence of Tris which is believed to cause kidney cancer in humans. Consumers can attempt to determine the presence of Tris only by knowing what kind of fabric was used in making the sleepwear, Sloan said.
Sleepwear made of 100 per cent cotton, nylon, modacrylic (sold as Verel and SEF), modacrylic blends, matric fibers such as Cordelan, matric blends, vinyong (Leavil) and vinyon blends are Tris-free.
Several stores are still selling sleepwear made of 100 per cent polyester which has been treated with Tris in the past. Store managers have said that spring shipments of sleepwear made of 100 per cent polyester do not contain Tris, however.