Tuesday, February 10, 2009

CPSIA of 2008 - The Lead Law Part 2

It seems that the language about not prosecuting people for selling children's books printed after 1985 does indeed mean that we are to discard all old children's books printed before 1985. Please read this blog:

CPSIA and Vintage Books

I am seriously not kidding. Read it.

In the above blog, instances of thrift stores throwing old children's books in the trash are noted. It is happening just as people predicted. Rather than face possible prosecution, stores will discard their old books and old toys. How do you feel about old series books getting destroyed because of this law?

I want to scream. The people who wrote this horrible law are idiots. I have no problem with the lead restrictions on newly-manufactured items, but to place a blanket ban on all new and old items that might possibly contain lead is an abomination.

Forbes.com has a great list of articles from all of the fifty states. The articles show how the lead ban is affecting all parts of the country and all facets of our society.

How the CPSIA Wreaks Havoc in Every State

I have not read any of the articles listed on Forbes yet. All that I could do is read the one blog post before my blood pressure began to rise. I have already had too much excitement from tornadoes coming too close to me today, so I need to calm down. This is what the last month has been like. Every few days I read about the lead law, became upset, and waited a couple of days before reading more.

The authors of the law are not interested in changing it. They do not understand that their blanket ban should not extend to vintage items. They do not understand that pieces of this country's history are going to be destroyed because stores are afraid to sell the items. If the average book contained enough lead to cause health problems, I doubt any of us book collectors would still be alive. I am surrounded by books, and I do not feel that I am suffering from lead poisoning. If I am indeed suffering from lead poisoning, I certainly do not know it.


Lisa K said...

Wow, this is crazy. There's a huge local book sale scheduled for this weekend, and I wonder if they will discard all the children's books published before 1985. I suppose I will hang onto my extra books for now, since I don't know what is legal to sell.

Anonymous said...

OMG, This is really crazy and terrible. It makes no sense. I think I will go to our local thrift stores and see what they are doing.

As far as used book stores and small sellers of vintage chidren's books, they should post signs that say these are vintage books which may contain lead and should be purchased for collecting only. This should relieve them of legal consequences based on what I read on the blog you cited. Adults are the ones actually buying the books, so if they are still purchasing the books for their children, they should be responsible for ensuring their children are not "eating" the books. This is a really ludicrous law and example of how cockeyed things are. Tainted peanut butter can somehow be covered up and distrbuted to the masses in all kinds of food products, killing or sickening hundreds (thousands?) of people, while at the very same time, we have new legislation preventing the sale of old children's books because of a potential health hazard should the children of today ingest them. Ridiculous, especially because there doesn't appear to have been any major epidemics in the past, when these same books were actually given to generations of children to read.

It is so sad to think of so many books being destroyed.

Anonymous said...

I thought of something else - does this mean libraries will have to remove all pre-1985 books from their children's book shelves because a child may borrow the book and lick it? :0

I bet most of the libraries of this country will not throw out children's books en masse... and will have something to say about this law. Is there any chance that the law has been misinterpreted? I can't believe someone in power hasn't objected to it before now.

Keri said...

This makes my heart break, it really does.

Even beyond my horror at the idea of destroying books, I've been waiting for years to have enough income and space to collect old books seriously and just as I'm maybe able to move into a place with room for bookshelves, we get this law that looks like it's going to stop me.

Anonymous said...

I read there is now a stay of the law until next year, Feb 10, 2010 because of the uproar it caused. It's not clear who the stay applies to but it does say the resellers, including thrift shops, do not have to certify used products. And it specifically says that vintage books sold as collectibles are ok to sell. So if thrift shops are separating out the pre-1985 books, rather than throw them away, for sure they can put them in a separate section called "Collectibles" and they can still sell them. See:

And the libraries are involved too - read this article: http://newburyportnews.com/punews/local_story_032231922.html

Unbelievably, one suggested "solution" for public libraries was to prevent children under 12 from using the library!!! We need some ordinary people in Washington DC....

Jennifer White said...

I'm not very clear on whether the one-year stay really does protect resellers. After the one-year stay was announced, I read that a district court overturned it a couple days later.

The mentality of some people who run thrift stores is what worries me. They already tend to damage merchandise when they price it. I can see where they are going to throw away a lot of good books in panic instead of using common sense.

While all of this concerns me, notice that I am NOT removing my books from my Bonanzle booth. I will remove them, of course, if future developments should require me to do so. Right now I'm just going to wait and see.

This whole thing makes my head spin. People have been heavily complaining about it for the last month, and the people who wrote the bill will not do anything about it.

I am concerned about the big book sale that I will attend next week. I always take the day off work to wait in line so that I get first pick. If I invest a day in this sale and they have no children's books, well, let's just say that I will be enraged and will be using language that I cannot post in this blog. It won't be good.

Anonymous said...

My previous comment chopped off the url. Here it is again:


Go down to section that says CPSIA Information for Retailers and Resellers of Children's Products, including Thrift Stores, Consignment Shops ans Charities. Make sure to read question 17.

Anonymous said...

Thought I'd let you all know what I found out today at my local thrift stores. I visited a charity based thrift shop, a for-profit second-hand shop that gets most of the AMVET donations locally (on contract), and Goodwill.

At each shop I asked to speak to a manager, introduced myself, told the manager I collect vintage children's books, and that I became aware recently of a law that might effect their selling of older children's books and could they please tell me what their policy is. I made sure to tell them at some point that I wanted to make sure that these books are saved and not destroyed.

At the first two shops, they asked me "What law?". When I answered the CPSIA law concerning lead, they said it was ridiculous - "Lead in books?" and didn't seem at all aware that it effected them and even seemed suspicious of me like I was going to get them in trouble. I explained that there were reports of some thrift shops trashing all pre-1985 children's books, and that I just wanted to make sure this was not being done locally. They reassured me that they are not destroying the books and are still selling them and that used book shop owners are lined up every morning buying them for their shops. I checked out their shelves and they were still stocked with older children's books.

At Goodwill, the manager was immediately aware of what I was talking about, and said they are not selling them. They separate out anything that is not positively post-1985, and she said their trucks pick them up. She clarifyied for me that these were Goodwill trucks not garbage trucks. When I asked if Goodwill was then throwing the books away or possibly destroying them, she said she had to refer me to another person for the details. She gave me a phone number and name which turned out to be the public relations person for Goodwill. I called and got voice mail. I left a message but no return call at this point. There are like 8 or 9 Goodwill shops in the New Orleans area where I live. I hope they're not trashing the books. We have enough of a book shortage as it is since Katrina.

Anyway, it looks like common sense is prevailing at least at the smaller shops. I hope Goodwill has found a solution to preserve the books also despite the law.

Jennifer White said...

I had heard somewhere that Goodwill is not selling the older children's books. It is interesting that the employee would not reveal what was being done with the books. My first thought is that the books are getting sold in Goodwill's online auctions, and she did not want to say.

This is where some of Goodwill's books are:


This is where some of the eBay listings are:


It has been known for years that Goodwill holds back most of its good books to sell online. This is why I never shop at Goodwill. I have one store near me, and the books are terrible.

Thanks for posting the link with the clarification about the selling of vintage children's books. It has been so hard to keep up with all of the press releases about this law.

Anonymous said...

The public relations person called me back today and she said that Goodwill is not selling pre-1985 children's books and that they are being given to a salvage company. I asked if they were being destroyed by the salvage company and she said she didn't know. I pointed out to her that other thrift shops are still selling them and that it is legal to sell the books as collectibles, as they would not be going to children. She said Goodwill is working closely with the Consumer Product group and that their guidlelines are that pre-1985 books could contain lead and Goodwill will not sell any products that might contain lead. Period. So that's all I got out of her - other than it would not be possible for them to sell or give the books to anyone else (besides the unnamed salvage company). Hopefully, someone is identifying the collectible children's books and selling them online as you said. If they are listed as collectibles, it is totally within the CPSIA law and a way to prevent the destruction of these books.