I just ran across a box of my childhood books. Precious volumes with lovely illustrations, the smell of vintage paper, memories of my grandmother who gave me many of them...and illegal to share with children.
These books were all published before 1985 and according to the CPSIA there is lead in the ink that is dangerous to children. And, as a matter of fact, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) has done lead testing on these books and determined that it is within the stated CPSIA standards. BUT despite that, according to the law, such books may not be sold or even given away to children. In fact, they really aren't supposed to go to adult collections because they are CHILDREN'S books, and therefore at some point they might be read by children. God forbid.
I guess I wasn't in the habit of eating books when I was a child, but, except for the cardboard books geared for infants and toddlers, I haven't ever seen a child chew on a book. This I've seen with my own eyes at the library...but, then I think there is a much more likely danger of these children catching a cold or the flu from their teething on these public books.
As far as I know, there's never even been a study to determine if these books have ever harmed a child. I had lots of them and I'm considered pretty smart. I'm an artist and have my own business. I guess that means both my left AND my right brain are working well.
But, sadly, bookstores are throwing out their vintage children's books. Thrift stores will no longer accept contributions of these books. The libraries are, for the most part, still in shock.
Oh yes, the CPSIA offered a reprieve of one year. For now, they aren't going to require the books to be tested for lead (which destroys the books), but they're still liable for the lead content and can be prosecuted, if not by the federal government, then our state governments.
So, in a way, I guess an aspect of George Orwell's, 1984 has come true. In one year, our government may just have us burning all those pre-1985 children's books.
Shame on them.
If this concerns you, please write your federal legislators, requesting them to save these books from the CPSIA. Here are links to your U.S. Congressional Representatives and Senators.
And, please, share this information with your family, friends, and associates, so that they can add their voices to saving the books.
Here are links to my (January) blogs on other aspects of the CPSIC (yes, unfortunately, there's a lot more to this law).
* How will the CPSIA affect you?
* DATELINE February 10, 2009: Ham Sandwich Lunch Soars to $10,080.
Update 2/25/2009--I've been getting some marvelous responses offline. Here are other sites these folks have shared with me that discuss the issue:
* American Library Association