Today's highlights and thoughts on the CPSIA.
Libraries: Ban Kids - Don't Burn Books!
Libraries also are concerned about the Act, and American Library Association leadership has been quoted in press interviews predicting that libraries could have to destroy existing holdings or keep children away from the books. According to Library Journal, the ALA sent a letter to Congress last week asking for an exemption for libraries; later executive director Amy Sheketoff posted a note on the organization’s District Dispatch that counseled libraries not to take any action until the uncertainty is sorted out.
I hope that libraries would sooner shut their doors, temporarily, to children under age 13 than to destroy or warehouse any part of their collections. While an immediate repeal or resolution to the problem of the CPSIA may not come in time to save the cottage industry of handmade toys and clothes, and many small publishers will not hang in there long enough to see it through, I am confident that our lawmakers will soon see how ridiculous it is to include ordinary books - even those intended specifically for children under age 13 - in the scope of the CPSIA.
I suppose handheld, electronic book readers will gain a windfall from the demise of children's books. It would be tempting, but unfair, I suppose, to say something like "Amazon Kindles the flame that ultimately burns books" - many of us would not have heard of the CPSIA were it not for Amazon's notice that they would stop carrying our titles unless our publishers provided proof of CPSIA compliance (hard to do, when the CPSC still hasn't defined acceptable testing and certification methods) by January 15.
Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and Girl Scouts of America (GSA)
I wonder if the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were blindsided by this, too. I suspect they were, and I suspect that they are scrambling to figure out what to do.
[The CPSIA] will impact all the ordering of gear, patches and so on for NOAC 2009, for the 45,000+ attendees of the 100th Anniversary National Scout Jamboree at Camp A.P. Hill in Virginia, and every summer camp’s trading post for the 2009 season (and so on). That’s a lot of stuff.
. . .
The gear, patches and clothing currently in inventory is what will cause the most interest by BSA National because 300+ council offices have lots of stuff in inventory in their stores and summer camp trading posts.
All of it has to be certified or tested, or it must be removed from sale on Feb 10th. Or someone has to find an exemption. Right now, there are no exemptions.
This law was written primarily to deal with large multi-national firms importing containers of lead-tainted junk toys, so the fines are substantial.
Actual Recalls by CPSC Since August, 2007
Faulty Instructions Prompt Recall of Electrical Wiring How-to-Books by The Taunton Press; shock Hazard to Consumers (http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09078.html)
Children's Necklaces with Ballet Shoes Charms; solder on the charm of the necklace may contain high levels of lead, which if ingested by young children can cause adverse health effects.
Children's Board Book Sets Recalled By Dalmatian Press Due to Choking Hazard
eeBoo Sketchbooks; paint on wire binding contains lead
Journals from Antioch Publishing; paint on the spiral metal bindings of the journals contains lead
Priddy "Trucks" Shaker Teether Books; small pieces of the teether can break off, posing a choking hazard to young children.
Going back as far as 2002, using a search for "book," the preponderance of recalls were due to cutesy, detachable playthings or embellishments on books that might cause a choking hazard to small children. The only lead recalls were the ones shown here; one was due to a necklace sold with a book, and the others were strictly due to paint coatings on wire bindings.
Of the children's clothing that was recalled, most of it was due to choking or strangulation hazards. Drawstrings on children's clothes should be banned! But then, so should snaps and buttons. These things could actually kill a kid.
Then again, so could tripping over the pants that just fell down around their ankles. Maybe it would be better to say, "Parents, supervise your children when they are wearing clothes. Teach your kids to use drawstrings responsibly, and not to pull things off their clothes and stick them into their mouths."
God knows, we all needed a good laugh.
Julie Vallese (former spokeswoman for the CPSC) opened herself to the disdain and fury of the blogging community when she said, condescendingly, "There is a lot of misinformation being floated out by the media, by the mommy blogs, by others blogging on legislation that they're just not understanding…it needs to be clear, and it needs to be concise in terms of their requirements under the law." As if the CPSC's own clarifications were clear or concise in terms of anyone's requirements under the law.
I’ll sleep better, now. But you might want to rethink your condescending remarks about "the media, the mommy-bloggers…"
"Resellers need to have a certain level of confidence," said Vallese, "that they are meeting the law," which is exactly the point - when you're told, on the one hand, that there is no requirement to test used merchandise, but that you are going to be held liable for compliance, nonetheless - that you just have to have a "level of confidence" that your products meet the requirements (which are "not defined in the legislation") it doesn't exactly give you a "level of confidence," does it?
If resellers do choose to test their merchandise, Vallese informs us that lead swab tests aren't good enough for the CPSC. XRF technology might be used as a rough screening tool, but it's not definitive.
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