[Libs-Or] Fwd: Action Needed: Contact your Representative regarding Lead in Children's Books!

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Fri Apr 3 14:41:59 PDT 2009

I think I sent this out to you earlier but I am sending this again because
we want to take care of this issue now and not be back where we were in June
with the uncertainty of what was going to happen to our library
collections.  So, if your Representative has not signed on to this Dear
Colleague letter now is the time to let we know that we need these helps for
our libraries.  If they have signed on please send them a thank-you note.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kristin Murphy, American Library Association <kmurphy at alawash.org>
Date: Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 11:57 AM
Subject: Action Needed: Contact your Representative regarding Lead in
Children's Books!
To: Diedre Conkling <diedrec at charter.net>

     *Action Alert: Ask your Representative to Sign Rep. Fortenberry's Dear
Colleague on Lead in Children's Books!*

Take Action!
     As you know, Congress passed legislation titled "The Consumer Product
Safety Improvement Act of 2008" last August.  This legislation seeks to
decrease the levels of lead and phthalates in products intended for children
12 years of age or younger and is enforced by the Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC).   This legislation was misinterpreted by the CPSC to
include books.

Thankfully, U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) recently introduced
legislation to amend the CPSIA to exempt ordinary books from the lead limits
within the bill.  This legislation specifically exempts books and would
ensure that children can continue to have access to safe, educational and
entertaining reading materials.  Mr. Fortenberry cannot drive this
legislation alone; he needs our help to ensure that his colleagues
understand books are indeed a safe product, but our children's access to
them is threatened because of the CPSC's current interpretation.

*Action Needed:* In order to gain the attention this legislation deserves,
please call or write your Representatives and ask them to cosponsor H.R.

Time is of the essence; we have less than 11 months before the new
implementation date arrives, and it is critical that we convince as many
Members as possible to sign onto this legislation.  Without our advocacy,
this legislation will not move forward!

Currently, books are considered an unregulated product.  This means they are
generally considered safe and are not subject to the same rules and
regulations as toys and other objects on the U.S. market.  Under the new
interpretation of the CPSIA, books would be subject to the same testing
standards as children's toys and clothing.

Very few recalls have actually involved books; in fact, the recalls
surrounding books have not happened because of the books themselves but
rather the toys that were attached to the books that were considered
potential choking hazards.  In spite of this information, the standard
hardcover and paperback books would be subject to the same testing standards
as children's toys under the new legislation.

Publishers have tested the components of books and found that the levels of
lead in children's books were far below the future legal requirements at the
full implementation of the regulations three years from now.  However, the
advisory opinion from the CPSC says that not only must the testing be done
by one of their certified labs but that this legislation also is
retroactive, and every book currently in use must be tested.  This situation
will become even more complicated because the CPSC has not certified any
labs to administer the lead testing.

At this point, the CPSC has issued a one-year stay in implementation -
meaning, the legislation will not be implemented until February 10, 2010.
However, the CPSC has indicated that they will not permanently exclude books
without some sort of clear Congressional action.

*Talking points on H.R. 1692:*

   - Though the CPSC has interpreted the act to include ordinary books,
   Congress did not intend for them to be included.

   - This legislation would exempt ordinary books only - books that are
   published on paper of cardboard, printed by conventional publishing methods,
   intended to be read, and lacking inherent play value.
   - Testing has shown that finished books and their component materials
   contain total lead content at levels considered non-detectable.
   - The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that there
   is little risk to children from lead in ordinary books.
   - Libraries are grateful for this bill since it is proven that reading
   books is critical to child development, and libraries would like to continue
   to provide this service without the threat of regulation that would
   unnecessary and expensive testing.

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Diedre Conkling
diedre08 at gmail.com
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