Friday, February 13, 2009

CPSIA - Bad to Worse

I first heard about the CPSIA Act in December when an eBay jewelry friend e-mailed me asking what I knew about it. My reply, "Nothing." December is always busy so I didn't read more about it then. In January another eBay jewelry friend e-mailed me about it so I did more looking. I got a little nervous, given the fact that it is in regards to lead in products intended for children, and yah, I've got a little business making children's jewelry. About half of what I sell is banned as of February 10th, anything with crystal on it (lead is part of all we like about crystal).

But enough about me. What is really chapping my hide is how this silly thing is affecting books. My kids don't regularly chew on books, and I've never heard of anyone getting lead poisoning from a book, but guess what? Books are included under the act. I can't even think straight over this, so just read more about it here at the BookRoomBlog.

For those that don't want to go read that blog, the basic gist is that books older than 1985 cannot be resold. So used bookstores are throwing them away, because what else are they supposed to do with them?

One of the quotes posted on that blog mentions that the government is trying to destroy history. I don't know if I could go that far, but I love older children's books because they have real home-grown values. Kids being taught honesty, hard work, love, virtue, and kindness.

Did you know there are book burning memorials? There are.

This one in Berlin is the site of the May 10, 1933 Nazi book burning. It is a translucent panel showing empty bookshelves below ground level. There are enough empty shelves to hold all the books that were burned. Nearby in Heinrich Heine's words it says, "Where books are burned, in the end people will burn."

So far libraries are exempt (probably an oversight), and I know there are lead-free reprints, but really, just go read these for my sake:

"Big Sister, Little Sister" by Charlotte Zolotow
"Big Brother" by Charlotte Zolotow
"Pelle's New Suit" by Elsa Beskow
"Pumpkin Moonshine" by Tasha Tudor
"The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes" by Dubose Heyward

Pass on your old favorites so I can make sure I get to those too.

Even if you haven't heard of these, there are plenty of others you have, like the Beatrice Potter books and even the first Arthur books by Marc Brown.

BookRoomBlog also has other information, including a post on who to contact about this.

I wonder what the true intention of this straitjacket is. Seriously, I would like to see the cases of kids getting lead poisoning from buttoning their coats, zipping their zippers, and eating their books. We're all about protecting the individual, but at what cost?

More on this from Semicolon, here, here, and here.

As Marcellus puts it in Hamlet, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."


  1. That seriously is so ridiculous! The government is getting out of control on what they are now dictating. Have you heard of the recent- Obama wants conservative radio to be forced to show both sides and give up half of their airtime to the liberals... Uh can we say FREE SPEECH?!

  2. You might want to check out these articles and then verify the information for yourself:

    Feb 3 article

    Feb 9 article

  3. I love how they delay implementation...tell second hand stores they don't have to test...but STILL say they are required to only sell items that meet the standards. HUH? Can we speak out both sides of our mouth anymore? It is highly disturbing to me that books would be included in such a way. That smacks of censorship in a very uncomfortable way.

  4. One more thing on that second link.

    'Historically we don't go after cottage industries.' Ok so now the cat is out of the bag and large retailers that get hit with huge fines will be running to file a discrimination suits because their 'small business' counterparts don't have to meet the same rules. The whole thing stinketh!

  5. Jewel - your links verify everything. Yes, the testing is delayed for a year, but businesses are still to comply. Your second link specifically mentions books printed before 1985 being included.

  6. This kills me too, at the bottom of the second Jewel link.

    “If there is one message a small manufacturer should take from the Commission’s action [of delaying testing requirements] it is this,” Commissioner Moore said: “If you have been making products without receiving any safety-related complaints, you should go on selling your products.” This will remain true for at least until February 10, 2010. Even beyond this date, HSLDA is confident of the future of small businesses under this law, and is grateful to the Commission for its cooperation and its sensitivity to the needs of family businesses."

    No one has ever complained about mine, so knowing there are requests to exclude crystal (because while crystal is made with lead, studies show there is no health risk to children or increased blood lead levels), I guess I just shouldn't worry about it? Cross my fingers and hope for the best?

  7. Your audio clip on socialism/communism seems to fit very well here. Bleh! I had forgotten about the bunny book so I went to Amazon and got it.

  8. The more I think about the "getting rid of history" thing, the more I agree with it. Yes, you can get history from a history book, but to get a real picture of the time, read a book written at the time.

  9. Libraries are not actually exempt. They've just decided not to comply and Congress can come after them if it wants to. Nobody expects Congress to go after them.

    HSLDA, frankly, could hardly be more off base on this one.
    I strongly urge those who trust HSLDA's take to read Valerie's response at the Bookroom Blog.

    Congress needs to clarify- bookstores are pulling books *now*, and a couple of thrift shops have thrown theirs out.

    Please call your reps and ask them to support the CPSIA reform bill- it can't hurt, and it could help.

  10. Our country has gone insane. We're so obsessed with being PC, raising "self esteem", and being overprotective that we have lost site of reality. Craziness. Thanks for posting info, Marni. You rock!

  11. This shows why we need to read on our own, people can take things out of context... They dont have to get rid of any books now, that is their choice since they didnt read the fine print! Although they may after the year is up. To emileeandjonny this is a direct from President Obama's cabinet "Sen. Obama does not support reimposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters," campaign press secretary Michael Ortiz told Broadcasting & Cable earlier this year. "He considers this debate to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening up the airwaves and modern communications to as many diverse viewpoints as possible." I agree the more viewpionts the better..... You should read up on the act!

  12. Here is a Dr. Seuss style story about the CPSIA to cheer you just a little!


    Thank you for all the signatures accumulated so far! This issue is at a turning point for libraries, booksellers, and readers. We can make a difference if we really push now.

    Our concern is at a very pressing moment in the U.S. House of Representatives. Last Monday, U.S. Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb) sponsored H.R. 1692 which granted an exception for children’s books given that they have no inherent play value for young children and no harm had been demonstrated (my paraphrasing). According to my limited understanding, the bill has been “referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce”, but lacks sufficient co-sponsors to advance in the Committee.

    Please act swiftly on this issue by phoning or emailing your Representative in the U.S. Congress and asking them to support H.R. 1692. We cannot delay since some libraries and stores around the country are clearing their shelves while we debate.

    1) Sign the petition:

    2) PLEASE EMAIL OR PHONE YOUR REPRESENTATIVE IN THE U.S. CONGRESS ASAP and ask them to support H.R. 1692 to amend the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act to exempt ordinary books from the lead limit.

    Visit for phone and email information.

    3) And most importantly: FORWARD this email to anyone you know! IF WE DON’T, THIS PETITION WILL NOT CONVINCE THOSE IN POWER!

    Sara Lizzy Timlin

    Title: To amend the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act to exempt ordinary books from the lead limit in such Act.
    Sponsor: Rep Fortenberry, Jeff [NE-1] (introduced 3/24/2009) Cosponsors (None)
    Latest Major Action: 3/24/2009 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

    -----Original Message-----
    Sent: Sunday, March 29, 2009 5:28 PM

    Hi, Readers!

    If you're worried about the upcoming ban on books printed before 1985, please sign my petition now! I am a strong environmentalist, but feel

    that to eliminate all these books due to lead poisoning would be a
    tragedy. Besides, all that lead would just end up in landfills and in the water supply.

    I just set up this website to create an online petition, and if you agree with me please take a look.

    If you need more information, this article in the Washington Post just came out. dyn/content/article/2009/03/23/AR2009032301764.html

    Please forward this message to absolutely everyone you know!
    I give permission in advance for this to go to listserves as well.

    Sara Lizzy (Just a Reader)
    Maryland, USA