American Library Association Urges CPSIA Exemption for LibrariesWritten by: Alison Print This Article
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The February 10, 2009, start of enforcement of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 is just two weeks away, yet the US federal government is still irresponsibly failing to correct the interpretations of the law to avoid shutting down access children’s books in libraries and even school text books.
On January 26, 2009, the American Library Association wrote a letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission urging it to:
Issue a rule or other guidance confirming that the new lead limits do not apply to library books and related materials; and
Determine by rule that ordinary books do not inherently contain lead or contain lead below the CPSIA lead limits.
Under the CPSC’s interpretations of CPSIA issued to date, the ALA believes that:
Under the Commission’s stated interpretation, the nation’s libraries would be required to test each children’s book in their inventories by February 10, 2009 — an impossible task. As a result, as of Febuary 10th the American Library Association’s members will have to consider barring children from accessing children’s books and other print materials. We are confident that Congress did not intend that result, and that it is not mandated by CPSIA.
Given this nonsensical interpretation, it seems that elementary school students may no longer be legally allowed to use textbooks unless the schools can prove they meet the new CPSIA lead and phthalate limits. As schools tend to reuse textbooks for many years and therefore most were purchased years before CPSIA was even in discussion, it is highly unlikely that they will have test data available to prove compliance of their books with CPSIA. Therefore, as of February 10, 2009, elementary school educators all become criminals by default unless they keep their students away from hazardous materials by banning them from access to books at school and securing the return of any textbooks and library books already borrowed by the students.