Wednesday, March 18, 2009

CPSIA and libraries - breaking the law?

The "big brother" federal government fears lead may exist in children's books. The operative word here is "may." We can find no evidence of anyone, child or otherwise, being harmed by ingesting books. However, those in power, in their infinite wisdom, decided that many items not known for containing lead or are not eatable are dangerous to children -- including books. The Consumer Product Safety Commission finally announced that ordinary books printed after 1984 are probably safe.

Now the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, as translated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, requires that children's books (written for children twelve and under) printed before 1985 are to be destroyed or placed where children cannot access them. Of course until recently, the law was interpreted to cover all books published for children under thirteen.

Therefore, libraries were "urged" to take children's books printed before 1985 off their shelves or make those books not accessible until the federal agency "investigates" whether vintage books contain unsafe levels of lead. (Side note: What are unsafe levels of lead in items not digested?)

CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson said libraries can safely lend any children’s book printed in 1986 or later…. Until the testing is done, the nation’s more than 116,000 public and school libraries “should take steps to ensure that the children aren’t accessing those books,” according to Wlfson. “Steps can be taken to put them in an area on hold until the Consumer Product Safety Commission can give further guidance.”

However, most libraries are not complying, as stated in CPSC Demands that Libraries Remove Books. A local television station had a segment on the nine o'clock news about libraries having more children checking out books than in the past. There in video were shelves after shelves filled with older children's books, and - horror of horrors - children were handling them, reading them, checking them out, but not eating even one, not even a nibble.

As Valerie wrote in the entry posted March 17, 2009, "Few, if any, libraries are complying, and many librarians are ridiculing the recommendation as alarmist. Even the nation’s premier medical sleuths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, say any danger from lead in children’s books is slight."

Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association’s Washington office, said, “We’re talking about tens of millions of copies of children’s books that are perfectly safe. I wish a reasonable, rational person would just say, `This is stupid. What are we doing?’” Where are any reasonable, rational people in Washington?

Has the federal government made our public and school libraries criminals? Where can that reasonable, sane person be found?



elysabeth said...

Holy cow, it's a never ending battle. It's all going back to Waxman and his stupidity (okay so sue me I can't stand ignorant, insane, people who think they are better than the people they represent).

Senator Jim DeMint (SC) is the only sane representative I've seen trying to fight this and other things that will only hurt the economy further than it is already.

I think Waxman needs to get his butt booted from the position he holds and let the people who know how damaging CPSIA take over and let them do justice for the American people.

Yet another stupid law from the governing bodies that haven't read or even cracked the pages to know what's going on - E :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Since news of the law hit the waves, it's gone from dumb to dumber!

If ANY of that were true about old books containing lead, don't you think us peoples over 30 would've all DIED by now????

L. Diane Wolfe

elysabeth said...

lol - Diane. That is funny. But after I read your comment and got to thinking about something - maybe that is the reason we have this dumb law; perhaps all those people we put in office (save the 3 or 4 who actually voted against this stupid law) ate the books instead of read them. They have irreversible brain damage and can't think rationally or like a sane adult should. Thus, they can't read the 600+ pages of a law to decide if it is really something that is needed or warranted and their thinking ability is totally depleted (the lead content was too much for them to maintain thinking ability).

All joking aside, this is serious business and we need folks like Senator DeMint fighting the good battle for us. The rest of them need to sit down and remember what it was like to receive a copy of Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham or even a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book. They need to remember why we have books and who is benefitting from banning children's classics. I'd hate to see Pooh and Tigger disappear or Wild Thing, or even thee Boxcar Children. These are the books they are trying to say will be damaging if they stay on the shelves because there is such a minute possibility that the ink in these books contain lead that is detectable enough that it would cause some sort of brain damage.

Tell our representatives to take a hike and grab a book and read, not eat, to find out why we are fighting so much. E :)

Holly Jahangiri said...

I think I'll go find a thrift store that knows nothing about the CPSIA, buy up all their old children's books, and hand them out to kids (with their parents' approval, of course). Then dare them to come arrest me. It may take that before anyone will do more than mutter about how stupid it is.

Look, if people haven't stormed the capitol with pitchforks and torches over the economy, they don't care about this. (Actually, they were starting to, and had things not crumbled into an ambiguous and confusing mush - had CPSC either vigorously enforced the law, or Congress scrapped it - we wouldn't still have this hanging over our heads.)

Vivian Zabel said...

A CPSIA protest rally is being held in Washington April 1. I wish I could be part of the event, but ...

I know some people are planning to attend from Oklahoma. Hope people are from other states, too.