Consumer Safety and Children’s Books

After spending the week buying used books at bookstores, on e-bay and in the library, I had to wonder how the availability of children’s books might change over the upcoming year when the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act goes into effect next year.

In 2007, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was passed to prohibit the sale of items intended for use by children 12 and under that hadn’t been tested for the element lead (and certain phthalates) and deemed safe. If you haven’t heard about it, check the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act website at http://www.cpsc.gov/ABOUT/Cpsia/cpsia.HTML#whatsnew.

Right now it looks like it is okay to sell older books:

“Children’s books printed after 1985 that are conventionally printed and intended to be read (as opposed to used for play) OK to sell; however, books with metal spiral bindings have been recalled for lead paint.

Vintage children’s books and other collectibles not considered primarily intended for children OK to sell.”

Newer children’s books, however, are still subject to testing at this time. This will be extremely expensive (right when library budgets are already stretched to the limit), time-consuming, and probably largely futile as books would not have the potential to contain large amounts of lead unless they have metal bindings.

As you might imagine, the libraries are actively involved in clarifying the details of this act and also pushing for an exemption for books already in library collections. Booksellers are also lobbying Congress.

Check the American Library Association District Dispatch for details.
http://www.wo.ala.org/districtdispatch/?p=3014

Until the dust settles, I plan to buy and stockpile a lot of used children’s books this year.

What do you think?

Eidt; More: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09120.html

Here’s the latest about libraries 9/24. http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6698584.html?nid=2788&source=title&rid=1936824386


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