Shame on youWant to give your child lead poisoning? Well, just let him suck on enough paper books and this is just fine with the toothless Consumer Product Safety Commission. By postponing action, and even more important, by not requiring quick action to begin with, we can only conclude that the CPSC is endorsing the status quo.

According to Publishers Weekly:

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced on Tuesday that it would extend the stay of enforcement on total lead content in children’s products, as dictated in section 102 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, until December 31, 2011. The vote was four to one, with Commissioner Robert Adler dissenting. …

Under the CPSIA, products for children under 12, including some books, must have a Certificate of Compliance showing they have been tested for acceptable total lead levels. The CPSC has not yet clarified the acceptable procedures for testing and certification, however; the extension of the stay gives it more time to issue these guidelines before the requirements are enforced. While most “ordinary” children’s books (those made of process inks on paper or board) do not need to be tested, novelty and book-plus formats, as well as titles incorporating PMS inks, laminates, foils, wire, non-animal-based adhesives and other components, do.

The Commission,s failure to act on a potential source of danger to kids is just another example of how our government has become pretty much useless. The article quotes Gary Jones of the Printing Industries of America as saying: “This is great news”. I bet it is!

Industry wins again and the consumer looses again.


  1. While I don’t applaud the CPSC’s extending the stay of enforcement, without a set of guidelines to follow, enforcement would be pretty much pointless anyhow. Maybe we should be looking into why there are no guidelines set… and I’ll bet the words “budget cuts” will be in there somewhere.

  2. I’d be more concerned about books that may have been produced and shipped from outside the U.S., from a country without similar laws against lead use. As we’ve already seen from a lot of Chinese merchandise, the difference in quality standards from country to country can be striking.

  3. This isn’t so much a win for big industry as it is for the small craftsman. Under this rule, even a hand carved toy train would need to be tested.

    What is needed is not mandatory testing of all products, but quality control of RAW materials and imported goods.

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