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Lead in library books may lead to reading regualtions

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Author Topic: Lead in library books may lead to reading regualtions  (Read 57 times)
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« on: January 31, 2009, 08:20:23 am »

Librarians across the United States are making noise about new federal restrictions on lead that could take books out of the hands of children.

 The Consumer Product Safety Commission Improvement Act requires all products, including books, intended for children younger than 12 to meet new lower standards for lead content. Commission regulations, written in response to the law, take effect February 10. Even stricter limits will become effective in August.

Paper, ink, covers and glues would need to pass lead content standards.

"While we understand the process the CPSC must carry out in order to ensure this law is properly enforced and that the safety of our nation's children is protected, we believe the commission is wasting time and resources by zeroing in on book publishers and libraries," Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association Washington office, said.

"It is our hope that this matter will be resolved soon, so that libraries can continue their efforts to serve children without the threat of closing their doors."

The CPSC is expected to issue guidance early next week, said Lisa Ackerman, spokeswoman for Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Arkansas, who sponsored the legislation in the Senate last year.

The bill, sponsored in the House by Rep. Bobby L. Rush, D-Illinois, was prompted by a rash of recalls of lead- and phthalate-tainted products, many of which were manufactured in China.

Pryor is frustrated with the commission.
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"The new law is not and was not intended to be a one-size-fits-all mandate," he said in an earlier statement. "There is simply no excuse for the CPSC's slow action on these rulemakings."

CPSC spokeswoman Arlene Flecha said the agency would comment on the issue later Friday.

Ordinary books that aren't made to be playthings (such as vinyl bathtub books) and that don't have baubles or other materials on their covers have always been exempt from regulations on lead in paint.

But the new regulations on lead in children's products do cover all kinds of books, according to a December 23 letter from the CPSC's office of general counsel to the Association of American Publishers.

Librarians say there's no way they can verify the lead content of all the books on their children's department shelves.
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