Thursday, January 08, 2009

Banning Books

Those of you who follow this blog know that I am a lover of old books and ephemera. I frequent library books sales, thrift stores and Half Price Books looking for older books to share with my children or for myself. So I was horrified to learn recently that on February 1o, 2009...just about a month away, I won't be able to do these things anymore. Please read the article I've reprinted below from the Homeschooler's Notebook to find out more and what you can do about it.

The Sale of Children's Books to be Banned
By Heather Idoni of
Added Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Sale of Children's Books to be Banned
Oh, how I wish this were a joke! But it is a grim and looming, almost Orwellian, reality.
Effective February 10th, in the United States, the sale of all children's books (books intended for children ages 12 and under) is to be PROHIBITED. Every single book printed prior to the ruling is affected, whether new or used. New books in production are required to include a "lead-free" certification and will be the only books that are legal to offer for sale.
What does this mean to the homeschooling family?
Well, for one, curriculum fairs across the country will be cancelled as book vendors scramble to figure out how to comply with the new ruling. Complete book inventories will have to be destroyed -- the ruling even prohibits giving away the books! Local thrift stores will be hard hit -- most will likely have to close their doors -- yes, even Goodwill and Salvation Army. Clothing, toys and books -- even CDs and DVDs are included in the ruling. Thrift stores will no longer be able to accept or process anything (including clothing) that would be intended for a child.
No more library sales. Libraries will not be permitted to give away or sell book donations. It is unsure yet, however, how the libraries' shelves themselves will be impacted (the ruling doesn't explicitly mention "loaning" books, just selling or giving them away). The key word, however, is "distribution" -- libraries may well be required to destroy books from their shelves.
(The ruling that originally passed was about toys, but the EPA has since made a statement that clothing, books and media are included in "children's toys".)
Just how serious is this new law? has already notified all vendors of their need to comply. No book can be sold at the Amazon site that was printed prior to compliance. And the "compliance" must be coordinated at the manufacturing stage. At the time of this article there is no clause to be able to grandfather-in older books or even rare out-of-print books. It can cost between $500 and $1500 to test a book for lead.
I happen to own a children's bookstore specializing in living books from the 1950s and '60s. My punishment for selling a book after February 10th? Up to $100,000 and 5 years in jail. And yes, it is a felony charge. For selling a SINGLE book.
(Although I don't think the S.W.A.T. team scenario would become a reality overnight, at the same time I would be leery of blatantly violating Federal law.)
So what can you do to help save your local used bookstore that sells children’s books? Or that homeschool curriculum business? Or your EBay business selling children's items?
ACT NOW before the quickly approaching deadlines:
1) Email or call the CPSIA - the office of the CPSC ombudsman at 888-531-9070.
Comments on Component Parts Testing accepted through January 30, 2009. Or email:
2) Contact your local representatives. For their contact informa- tion, just enter your zip code.
3) Make your voice heard by voting on this issue! The top 3 in each category will be presented to President-elect Obama.
4) Sign the petition.
5) Spread the word! Forward this article. Send an email. Write about this on your blog. Tell others about this issue and encourage them to do the same.
For the complete story, read the following links:
Consumer Product Safety Commission Summaries on Legislation Index page for Children's Products Containing Lead; Lead Paint Rule and other rulings
Office of the General Counsel FAQ on retroactive inventory require- ments -- The use of forward effective dates appears to force current inventories to adhere to the ruling on February 10th, 2009
Specific FAQ on their interpretation of books and other media to be included in the testing of lead based products
Effective Date: Lead content limit of 600 ppm becomes effective 180 days after enactment. An advisory opinion regarding the application of the new lead limit to inventory existing at the effective date can be found on our web site at
Getting the Lead out: There is no lead in children's books
There is no lead in Children's books: From a Pediatrician


Tanja said...

Eh??? Wha....? I'm spluttering too much to write coherently, because I can't believe this.

Oh. Just a moment. My manners!

Hi, Jill! How *are* you? It's been entirely too long since I last trotted over here.

Can I go back to your post on January being Tea Month? Much more fun. Then I'll come back to this...this...what *is* it?...inexplicable ruling.

Oh my.

Hugs to you, Tanja (EW Spider)

Jill said...

Hello Tanja!!! Happy New Year! You haven't missed much as my posting has been sporadic, but I'm trying to do better.

Yes, this law is ridiculous. Apparently they have now said that resellers won't have to test the things they sell but IF there is a problem with an item they sell containing lead they can face fines and possible jail time. Not many are willing to have that cloud hanging over their head.