Monday, January 19, 2009

Protecting America's Children from...Books?

In February, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act goes into effect, which places stringent limits on the amounts of lead and pthalates that can be in products that will be used by children 12 and under. Makes sense, right?

But the authors of the bill apparently didn't give much thought to libraries. A lot of children's books probably contain trace amounts of lead thanks to the ink. According to some reports, the government wants children's books in libraries tested for lead. All of them.

That could run anywhere from $300 to $600 per book. I'm guessing my library has at least 10,000 children's books. Do the math.

Considering the state cut funding for Massachusetts libraries by almost $400,000 in October, I find it difficult to believe that anyone is suddenly going to find $3 million to test children's books in one library.

I'm as in favor of keeping chemical contaminants away from children as anyone. But I had a number of health problems as a kid, and I doubt any of them were caused by The House at Pooh Corner.

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