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[BKARTS] Books and lead testing
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- Subject: [BKARTS] Books and lead testing
- From: Susan Angebranndt <susan@xxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2009 15:47:09 -0800
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In 2007 there was a large outcry in the US when it was discovered that
large toy manufacturers were importing toys from China and developing
countries that contained high levels of lead. The US Congress decided to
beef up the authority of the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and
passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August 2008.
Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates (substances added to
plastics to increase their flexibility) in ALL children's products (toys,
books, clothing, bicycles...), and mandates third party testing and
certification on everything sold to kids. The CPSC has been interpreting
the law and issuing rules; enforcement begins in mid-February.
On the face of it, this seems like a good idea. Except for a few issues.
First, the new rules mandate testing for any items intended or "perceived"
for children. For me personally, do I have to test the flip books I make
and sell to collectors but may be given to children? Second, and probably
worse, the rules are retroactive, so after they go into effect on Feb 10,
kids' book without a certificate of lead testing can't be sold or
distributed, no matter when the book was printed. Amazon, for one, is
taking the new rules seriously and sent an email to all affiliates asking
them to provide the lead testing certificates for all items. Does this mean
lots of already-printed copies of, say, Harry Potter, have to be destroyed?
Because the law is about both selling and distributing (including giving
away for free), this could be a huge issue for libraries, literacy programs
and even thrift stores. As it stands now, the CPSC hasn't said anything
about whether libraries can continue to lend books to kids, or sell used
and donated kids books at yearly book sales...
>From what I've read, libraries, book sellers and publishers have been
blind-sided by this law. I encourage you to write or email your
congressperson about how little thought-out it is.
Here's more info:
Official government CPSIA website with the law wording
FAQ from the Consumer Products Safety Commission about the rules and what's
covered (links to the specifics about books)
Press release from the American Library Association about CPSIA and it's
impact on libraries and publishers
Rick Woldenberg, who's company makes and sells educational toys & books,
has a blog with lots of information about CPSIA
Handmade Toy Alliance has a lot of material about the impact of the rules
on small businesses, proposals for rules changes, and template letters to
Green Chair Press
Annual Arnold Grummer Press sale now online at
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