Now parents have to worry that the storybooks they hope will inspire their children to become lifetime readers may be as toxic as those Chinese toys. Libraries and bookstores across the country seem to be faced with the possibility that they will have to clear their shelves of books aimed at readers under 12-years old until those books can be checked for toxic lead paints and plastic.
According to the Mercury News:
That little-known consequence of a law passed to protect kids from tainted toys has librarians and publishers lobbying furiously for an exemption before it takes effect Feb. 10. Without a reprieve, San Jose library officials say they could be forced to close their children's sections and send off all 700,000 volumes in them for safety testing....
Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in August to protect kids from exposure to lead and plastic. The law followed the discovery of lead paint in imported toy trains and mounting health concerns about baby bottles and toys containing phthalates, used to make some plastics more flexible.Applying this law retroactively to libraries and bookstores seems to me to be an impossible burden despite the fact that so many little ones keep their books in their mouths as much as they keep them in their hands. This is a tricky question but the word "overkill" does come to mind pretty quickly.
Lawyers for the Consumer Product Safety Commission told publishers in a recent opinion that the law covers children's books as well as toys and applies retroactively to include library collections. All books aimed at kids under 12, the commission said, need to be tested to ensure they don't exceed the new lead and phthalate limits.
Although publishers presented the commission with evidence they say proves books don't pose any of the health risks to children that the law intended to address, the agency has yet to be convinced.