The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 called for the testing of children’s books (and accompanying items that come with some books) for lead. But they haven’t gotten around to issuing guidelines for said testing.
This lack of direction makes it difficult, if not impossible, for publishers and other makers of children’s products to comply.There was confusion from the very beginning:
It initially was believed that the Act could cause children’s books [to] be removed from schools, libraries, and stores; nonprofit groups to lose the ability to accept donations; and retailers, printers, and publishers to potentially go out of business.There was a little bit of light, but not much when:
…the CPSC declared a permanent stay of enforcement for “ordinary” children’s books printed after 1985, saying it would not impose penalties against anyone for making, importing, distributing or selling them. This gave the industry some relief, but still did not preclude states’ Attorneys General from enforcing at their discretion.According to Publishers Weekly, this is where it stands now:
1. Ordinary books published after 1985 are “safe.” Sort of.
2. Books-plus and novelty books will have to be tested before being deemed “safe.”
3. Retailers can sell children’s books printed after 1986, but could face fines if they sell or display a lead-containing book.
4. Libraries and schools might be able to keep lending or using books printed before 1986. Or they might not.
5. Used booksellers might be able to sell books printed 1986 or before, but they can’t sell anything “unsafe.”
And there you have it. Clear as fog.