I have been wanting to blog about the dreadful Consumer Products
Safety Improvement Act for weeks, and especially this week when the law
went into effect, but I have very little handsfree time for typing
right now (and you know I’m not complaining about that).

But this is a very important and disturbing issue, and if it isn’t
on your radar yet, I urge you to read up on the matter. Many used book
stores and thrift shops are now throwing out—as in, putting in the
trash—children’s books published before 1985 because to sell them would
be breaking the law, as of this past Tuesday. Books in the trash is such a horrifying thought I can scarcely type it.

Goodwill stores have pulled all children’s clothing and any other children’s product from their shelves.

Here’s some links to folks who are on top of the issue. I highly
recommend exploring their recent archives (especially their posts of
the past week) and follow their links to yet more information.


The Common Room


American Library Association

Snopes, I’m sorry to say, is wrong on this one.

A friend just sent me a link to an HSLDA statement from earlier this week which pitches the CPCA’s recently added exemptions to the testing regulations as good news:

Last Friday, the CPSC declared numerous changes in their regulations, including the
following exemptions that correspond with requests made by HSLDA in our meeting with Commissioner Moore:

  • An exemption for certain natural materials such as wood, cotton, wool, and certain metals and alloys that rarely contain lead;
  • An exemption for ordinary children’s books printed after 1985;*
  • An exemption for textiles, dyed or undyed (not including leather,
    vinyl, or PVC) and non-metallic thread and trim used in children’s
    apparel and other fabric products, such as baby blankets.
  • The
    exemptions may be a step in the right direction, but that second bullet
    point makes it clear that children’s books published BEFORE 1985 are
    not exempt from the new lead testing requirements. Used bookstores,
    thrift shops, and eBay or other online sellers of books are unlikely to
    be able to afford to have all their pre-1985 inventory tested. It is,
    therefore, now illegal to sell children’s books published before
    1985—even in your own yard sale.

    This is seriously wrong.

    (Thanks for the link, S.!)

    Updated to add: Here, at The Bookroom, is a thoughtful post responding to HSLDA’s memo.

    4 thoughts on “CPSIA”

    1. Thank God for those exemptions, but you’re right – this is terrifying for used book stores, and for mothers like us who rely on older books for good childhood education.

    2. Thanks, Valerie–I added a link to your post on my main blog last night, but I forgot to update this mirror site. Will do now.
      Thanks for your excellent coverage of this issue.

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