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Government State

Cleaning product purchases now require ID


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If you set out to buy certain cleaning supplies in the new year, don’t forget to bring your ID.

Under a new state law, retailers are now required to keep a registry of people who purchase items that contain certain chemicals, such as sulfuric acid and ammonia water. The legislation was initiated after two attacks on Chicago women who were badly scarred after having acid poured on them, according to the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

The law, which went into effect Sunday, requires customers who purchase products with a label that reads “causes severe burns” to present retailers with a photo ID. That includes items such as drain cleaners and pool chemicals.

Under the law, customers must provide a valid driver’s license or other government-issued identification showing their name, date of birth and a photograph when purchasing such products. Then they must sign a log documenting their name and address, the date and time of the transaction, the brand name, product name and net weight of the item.

There are exemptions for some items such as batteries. Provided the product isn’t used to injure another person, the law also does not apply to people engaged in commercial manufacturing or use of the substances.

The Sycamore Hy-Vee store sells about 30 products that now require ID, said store manager Kyle Anderson. He said tags are on shelves near items that require ID to inform customers about the law.

“I wouldn’t say it’s an inconvenience. It’s just a matter of making adjustments,” he said.

Carolyn Tobinson, owner of Tobinson’s Ace Hardware in Genoa, said the store has a system where each register prompts a sales clerk to ask for identification for certain items. Information is then recorded in the store’s registry, and a customer can sign the store’s log book. A separate receipt is printed to keep better records, she said.

Tobinson’s Ace Hardware also added signs near the products that now require ID, and a full copy of the law is available at the customer service desk, Tobinson said. The store carries about a dozen products on the list, she added.

Anderson said the law shouldn’t delay checkout lines too badly, but people might have to spend a little more time at the register.

“Is it going to slow down transactions? Of course,” Anderson said. “But the amount of information [required] is not extremely detailed. It’s not going to hold the line an extra 10 minutes.”

The computer system at Lowe’s Home Improvement in DeKalb also prompts cashiers for customers’ information, said assistant manager Tony Dahlin. He said the store will create signs informing customers about which products are subject to the law.

Dahlin said employees are prepared to comply with the new measure while upholding a high level of customer service.

“Every day we’re faced with new laws that come down,” he said. “Our goal is to be compliant.”

The Midwest Hardware Association has a sample registry warning the Illinois State Police maintains the authority to request the registry at any time to pursue police matters. It also has signs available to print, directing questions to the appropriate state representative or senator.

Retailers face an initial fine of $150, a second-offense fine of $500 and a $1,500 fine for subsequent violations if they fail to record the information.

• Shaw Media reporter Sarah Sutschek contributed to this report.

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