Thursday, March 5, 2009

Please Keep Books Away From Children

That's the message the Consumer Products and Safety Commission (CPSA) is sending to parents who have children under the age of 12.

As I was watching the news on Wednesday night, I saw this story about the pickle that libraries have found themselves in. It seems that in children's books printed before 1985, lead may have been used in the inks used in the books. To remain in accordance with the CPSIA (Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, which went into effect on February 10) every book printed before 1985 must be tested for lead levels. And not just the pages will be tested, but also the cover and the spine. The estimated cost for this testing is $300-$600 per book. Libraries may choose to test every single children's book for lead, or else disallow any child into the library who is under the age of 12. Or, they may voluntarily get rid of every book printed before 1985 and repurchase newer versions of the books.

Is this really an expense that libararies can afford to absorb? One of two things will happen: Libraries will go broke or children will stop going to the library. Toddler storytime will become a distant memory. If libraries are in fact forced to comply with the CPSA guidelines and do the testing, will this be the end of free lending libraries in the USA? Don't get me wrong - I think that childrens' safety is of paramount importance. But, is this really a smart decision that will have more positive effects than negative?

Also, I'm wondering why in the hell I turned out okay, considering that when they must have changed over to lead-free inks for books in 1985, I was 13. In addition to practically living at the library as a child, I also read all of my older siblings' books, which were printed in the 60's and 70's. I mean, hell - they probably used arsenic to glue the book bindings back then!

15 comments:

Jenny said...

I hadn't seen that. $300-$600 per book? Somehow I don't think old books should be our biggest worry!

Noah's Mommy said...

um....are they serious?....if that's the case...everyone older than 23 should have had lead poisoning....seriously...most kids don't read any more anyway...they watch TV and play video games.....

MamaHenClucks said...

Well then, I am probably poisoning my children every day because in my own home I have a "study" stocked with books dating all the way back to the 1900's. Chickie Girl likes nothing better to sit with an ancient book on her lap and turn the pages. Even though she can't read.

This has to be the most ridiculous thing I have ever, ever heard.

Christine said...

That is insane! As an avid reader with virtually my own library within my home, I can not imagine what my children have been exposed to. I love to collect old Nancy Drew's, Trixie Belden's, Bobbsey twins, Children's Classics, all of which the girls and I read all the time....should they call CPS on me?

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

Yeah...I don't get those guidelines at all. There's so many other issues out there.

Jen said...

You sure do have a point. This is really just crazy!

Aleta said...

This is insane. I know SO many parents who are upset with the new law.

Just another way to control and add fear into our lives!

Wendy said...

At some point, I think we might have all lost our minds. How did I make it to 30? It's a mystery.

J'Ollie Primitives said...

The legislation is so broad-based. It affects everything, including small business owners, toy stores....argh. They need to revoke this and REWORD it.

Jennifer said...

See Dick. See Jane. See Dick and Jane give a generation of first graders lead poisoning.

Sometimes I seriously wonder what is happening in our country. Have you seen the price of bottles now that they are BPA free? Insane. I'm glad I'm finished because there is no way I could afford ten bucks a bottle. And that makes me wonder if there has been even one verifable instance of bpa poisoning (or whatever it is called).

Bridgett said...

Not only did I read the books, but I played in my grandfather's garage in the era of leaded gasoline...it's all a risk factor. You live cleanly, keep your kids clean and well fed? Don't worry if they get a little old ink on their hands. Yiminy.

I say this as someone who has had her house surrounded with hazard tape while the lead was abated on the outsides of the windows...

wedpartygirl said...

well i'm pretty sure that my kid is gonna die of lead poisoning because i kept all of my childhood books and they're in her room now - wait, if they're all full of lead, how the hell am i still here?

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

Ridiculous! That's all I'm sayin.

KEEP BELIEVING

Ryan@Cool Dad Central said...

That is insane. It's really amazing that we've defied the odds long enough to have children of our own...

Natalie said...

um, note to self: only feed the children the new books for dinner.

seriously, how did we turn out okay?