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Think of the children

Poorly-thought out legislation could lead to unforeseen consequences. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is intended to protect children by mandating the testing of toys and other children’s products for lead. Good idea, right? But the law is vaguely-worded, and as written requires the testing of books for lead as well. This expensive and destructive testing could have serious implications for bookstores and libraries. Alternatives to testing include banning children under 12 from libraries to keep them safe.

A statement from the Consumer Product Safety Commission is available here (PDF), and states: “However, a book intended or designed primarily for children would need to meet the new lead content limit of 600 ppm and subsequently 300 ppm established by the CPSIA.” and “The analysis above is equally applicable to educational magazines, posters, bookmarks and other such products that are printed on cardboard or paper and have no play value.”

This site has more information and a contact number at the CPSC.

Edit: But wait… it gets worse.

Edit 2: Statement from the American Library Association.