Back when toys made in China started being recalled for excessive amounts of lead, I had this wild idea, culled, no doubt, from reading too much dystopian literature. Maybe all that lead wasn't accidental; maybe it was China's subtle way of trying to control the world. Send American
Back when toys made in China started being recalled for excessive amounts of lead, I had this wild idea, culled, no doubt, from reading too much dystopian literature. Maybe all that lead wasn't accidental; maybe it was China's subtle way of trying to control the world. Send Americanchildren cheap, lead-filled toys and voila: you've got a generation of vaguely brain-damaged kids, easily overcome in the future. Of course, there're flaws in the diabolical plan, namely that not everyone buys cheap toys and, of course, the Consumer Products Safety Committee, which makes sure to test all imported toys for lead.
Still, it's a novel I'd read.
At any rate, my point is that of course I'm all for eliminating lead in toys. With my own buying habits, even, I try to avoid items made in China, just in case. (One reason I love Playmobil toys: made in Europe! Not that Germany couldn't adopt the same diabolical plan, but that's a different novel altogether.) But I think the CPSC has taken it just a little bit too far. Its new law, the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, is designed to massively increase the testing required for lead in items manufactured for children. The only problem? The law also includes used items, and is retroactive. Meaning, after February 9, it will be illegal for anyone to sell anything, new or used, that hasn't been tested for lead. Goodwill centers, second-hand stores, even garage sales would all be doing illegal trade.
Not to mention libraries.
Because the wording of the law says something vague like "all items for children," books are included. Obviously library books are used. So, come February 10, we've got two options (and by "we" I mean: all libraries that have children's books): pull every. single. children's book. OR we can ban children under twelve.
Great options, right?
When I started reading about this, I thought it was one of those urban-legend kind of things because it sounds so impossibly ridiculous. Especially considering the fact that books test lower for lead than the 2012 requirements. Yet, despite its seeming silliness, it's true. Forbes has a great article on it, explaining the general ideas and why it's such a failure of a law. To see how the law applies specifically to libraries, check this out.
It's really pretty odd that I don't consider myself a political person, and yet here I am, writing my third political-ish post in five days. Maybe I accidentally licked one of those suspicious toys from China, and my brain is manifesting its damage with a marked change in writing topics. Still, even for non-political me, this is simply ridiculous. Maybe it's the politicians who've been licking lead? Seems like a LOT of money is being spent on this legislation, but much of what the law is doing is damaging small resellers.
Come on! Books are good for growing brains, not bad. And, let's see: when was the last time your ten-year-old licked a book anyway? Or your five-year-old for that matter, not to mention the twelve-year-olds. Doesn't everyone wash their hands after reading a library book anyway? The damage from not having access to books is far greater than the tinchy little bit of lead that might be present in a book. And besides, what about those of us who actually own children's books? Are we next on the you-can't-read-that list? Sounds horribly Farenheit 451-ish to me.
So, are you ready for this: Shaky-on-the-politics little ol' me is going to call her congressperson. And if I can call my congressperson, then you definitely can. Even if you're not a fan of libraries, you might be a fan of etsy shops, or buying used books from Amazon, or whatever. We do, of course, need to be protected from lead, but involving logic in the process might be a good bet, yes?
(PS, I can't figure out why Typepad is making my fonts all wonky here. I tried to fix it. Really!)