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Topic: Upcoming Lead Law

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Subject: Upcoming Lead Law
Date Posted: 1/7/2009 3:55 PM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2007
Posts: 22
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I've heard lots of rumors and not many facts.  Can you tell me if I will still be able to swap children's books here after Feb 10?  Thanks,  --Barbara

Date Posted: 1/7/2009 4:02 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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I have no idea what you are talking about but don't see why you wouldn't be able to swap kids books after 2/10

ETA - I doubt that books contain lead so it shouldn't affect you or anyone else

Last Edited on: 1/7/09 4:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/7/2009 4:10 PM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2007
Posts: 35
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See these links:



I'm a little worried. It sounds completely asinine.

Date Posted: 1/7/2009 4:20 PM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2008
Posts: 80
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It sounds like an assinine law to me too, but from what I hear anything that is intended for children under 12, whether it could logically contain lead or not, is subject to testing.  There might be grandfathering, though, for things produced before the date?

Date Posted: 1/7/2009 4:23 PM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2007
Posts: 35
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Yes, I think it's a retroactive law.

Date Posted: 1/7/2009 4:28 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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I checked out those links and that is the most asinine thing I have ever read!  ok, I get that they want to prevent kids from getting lead poisoning but honestly, they are going about it all wrong IMHO. 

how often does a book contain lead?  have they found that books contain lead and if so, in what parts?  I've never heard of this so am very curious

Date Posted: 1/7/2009 4:30 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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"This includes not just selling, but distribution."  This is where PBS gets caught in it I think. Hopefully they figure out what they did and clean it up before so many books need to be destroyed. My heart sank when I thought of the effect this will have on the FOL used books sales.

Date Posted: 1/7/2009 7:20 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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My understanding (and others may disagree) is that only children's products produced after 2/10/09 must be tested and certified that they meet the new requirements. In the case of books, this will be done by the publisher. Products produced prior to 2/10/09 must meet the new criteria, but do not need to be certified. Most books already meet the lead requirements. The books that may have problems are those which come with non-media items, such as necklaces (as used in an example in one of the links above). Books with accompanying non-media items are currently not allowed to be traded at paperbackswap.

What I don't get is where the book burning comes into play. If my understanding is incorrect and all non-certified books issued prior to 2/10/09  (which would be all or most of them) would need to be destroyed, this would have a devastating effect on libraries and schools. Even with the 2/10/09 cut-off for testing, I think a lot of small business dealing in children's products will not be able to afford the testing and will close up shop, and those that can afford it, will most likely pass the expense on to the consumer.

Last Edited on: 1/7/09 7:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/7/2009 7:34 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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Your assumption is incorrect from what I read. Currently it says it will be retroactive, meaning any older product without certification would have to be tested before it could be sold or transferred. Many books may not have lead in them, but they need to have the testing certification to attest to that.

Your last paragraph sums up the problem. They only looked at from the big manufacturers perspective and didn't consider secondary markets or small business and handcrafters, and I am pretty sure they didn't consider existing books. One example shown, if you follow through those links, show a handmade sweater costing $150 would be $1650 after all the testing involved along the line. 

I really think there will be a clarification to fix a lot of these problems now that it is out there and being discussed. In this economy and green movement, how could they not??

Last Edited on: 1/7/09 7:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/7/2009 8:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2005
Posts: 44
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Last Edited on: 1/7/09 8:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/7/2009 8:39 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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Here's what I'm basing my information on:

Section 102 of the CPSIA specifically states that testing and certification of children's items is required on those children's items manufactured  after the effective date. It says nothing about certification requirements for items manufactured before that date.

From the FAQ section of the CPSC.gov website:


What certifications are required for children’s products that are tested for lead content?


Children’s products manufactured after February 10, 2009, when the lead limit may not exceed 600 ppm, will need a general conformity certification based on a test of the product or a reasonable testing program for products after that date. Children’s products manufactured after August 14, 2009, when the lead limit may not exceed 300 ppm, will have to be certified based on third-party testing of the product by accredited third party laboratories after that date.



An opinion from the CPSC legal counsel (below) specifically states (on page 2) that  the lead content rules (not the testing/certification) are retroactive.


I agree that other forums, blogs and articles are interpreting the certification, not just the lead content requirement, to be retroactive, but I've not yet found any references to the specific section of the law, or legal opinion or statement from the CPSC backing that up.

Updated to put quoted text in italics and clarify a sentence.

Last Edited on: 1/7/09 11:00 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/8/2009 12:51 AM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2007
Posts: 10
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Basically as the law stands now, it's very vague so technically we should NOT be allowed to swap children's books after Feb. 10th (because  it doesn't state that we can). It pretty much refers to ALL children's products, used and new, that need to have this certification. I cannot imagine how they expect libraries to deal with this.

Here are some links to basic facts about this issue:

Here's an update to that LA Times article that was printed on Jan. 7th (although it doesn't sound like ENOUGH to me!):
Regulators rethink rules on testing children's clothing and toys for lead
The Consumer Product Safety Commission gives a preliminary OK to exempt some items from testing after complaints of hardship to thrift stores and sellers of handmade toys.

Vote for Change HERE: http://www.change.org/ideas/view/save_handmade_toys_from_the_cpsia

Last Edited on: 1/8/09 12:58 AM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 1/8/2009 2:22 AM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2009
Posts: 1,924
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 I have been beating my head against a wall about this for weeks now. I am one of the people who at first thought the bill was GREAT. But infact it seems to be doing a lot of damage.

The FAQ of the CPSC is not fact but how they are lookng at it right now and it has changed and will keep changing. So far it seems the only ones getting a responce or information from them are big Money.

 As I understand it, this WILL legally effect us, and places like freecycle and bookcrossing and other places. Now weather those places comply are another thing all together.

I will say that a local thrift store has put up a sign saying they will comply and are not accepting items for children 12 and under.


Look at the LA times article, "They'll all have to go to the landfill," said Adele Meyer, executive director of the National Assn. of Resale and Thrift Shops.

 If the excutive director of the National Assn. of Resale and Thrift Shops can not find a loop hole for clothing made before Feb 10th.... do you think they would plan to stop selling if they saw any other choice? :( 

 It is real, it is coming, and I am worried. I hope it gets changed soon!

Date Posted: 1/8/2009 2:48 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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You might want to read this article from The Consumerist :


And read the comments.  There's some info that clears up a little of it.  The Consumerist has become part of Consumer's Union so it has some access to what's going on with this.


Date Posted: 1/8/2009 3:16 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,364
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I wonder if the fact that we are not selling, just trading, will make a difference?  I'm betting the PBS Team is looking into this -- like the heads of every Thrift organization in the country.

Date Posted: 1/8/2009 9:40 AM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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Here's an article just released today that includes the following quotes regarding the resale of used items from the Director of Public Affairs for the CPSC:

"This law does not close their [resale stores] doors," said Julie Vallese, Director of Public Affairs for the CPSC.

"Used resale items are different than retail products, under the law," said Vallese. "The new law does not require resale stores to test products."

Also, under the law, Vallese says resale stores "do not have to carry certification from a third party testing lab."

However, she says, "Those retailers [resale store owners] cannot sell products that do not meet new lead requirements."


Added -Regarding the question on how the new law affects book trading, included in the definition of chidren's products affected is the wording "distributed in commerce" . One could argue that swapping, a form of bartering, is distributing in commerce. A credit is usually either earned by mailing a book or purchased for cash.

Last Edited on: 1/8/09 9:56 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Ridiculous
Date Posted: 1/8/2009 9:58 AM ET
Member Since: 3/24/2008
Posts: 5
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I fail to see how Vallese's first statements fits with her last.  First she says that it will not affect used distributors.  Then she says they cannot sell products that do not meet the requirements.  Well, without a certification, how will they know what does and does not meet the requirements?

Date Posted: 1/8/2009 2:58 PM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2008
Posts: 203
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The article Linda posted said they were going to release specific resale guidlines today.  Does anyone know if that has happened yet?

Date Posted: 1/8/2009 4:32 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 928
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This new law is really horribly planned and executed. It really is economically and environmentally wasteful if the only place that kids clothes, books, and toys made before Feb 2009 can go is to the landfill.

Date Posted: 1/8/2009 4:43 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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 Not heard anything about this much, library has not been abuzz about it or has it even come up in meeting notes..I gues they do not think it will effect us but the resale part of it will since we sell the old books :(

Date Posted: 1/8/2009 4:49 PM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2005
Posts: 984
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Here is the latest from the CPSC website



Date Posted: 1/8/2009 4:52 PM ET
Member Since: 5/22/2007
Posts: 9,682
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It really amazes me that they'd do this. We grew up with these books and we're still alive, lol. As kids we ate paint chips, stuck dirt in our mouths and did so much more and most of us are still around and in "decent" working order (well...the older we get...lol)

I don't really see how this law will be enforced really. I'm curious to hear more about it.

Date Posted: 1/8/2009 5:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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I think the hangup on used items, such as books is in this part here "

...Beginning February 10, 2009, children’s products cannot be sold if they contain more than 600 parts per million (ppm) total lead. Certain children’s products manufactured on or after February 10, 2009 cannot be sold if they contain more that 0.1% of certain specific phthalates or if they fail to meet new mandatory standards for toys.

Under the new law, children’s products with more than 600 ppm total lead cannot lawfully be sold in the United States on or after February 10, 2009, even if they were manufactured before that date. The total lead limit drops to 300 ppm on August 14, 2009."

The items may not need to have the same level of certification as the items manufactured after this date. But unless you have them tested to prove they have less than 600ppm total, they cannot be lawfully sold. This in effect requires the same certification on the older items because you can't sell them without getting them tested (and then you'd want something showing that it is able to be sold, i.e. certification). This is why the used markets will toss them instead of trying to sell them because there is no way they can afford the testing to show the stuff meets the lead requirements placed on items manufactured before 2/10/09

Last Edited on: 1/8/09 6:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/8/2009 5:17 PM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2005
Posts: 984
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What is going to stink is that the average person can't have garage sales anymore as the normal person isn't going to want to have things tested.  Well I guess that shoots our vacation as I was going to take the money from our garage sale (alot of clothes for kids under 12 along with toys) and use that toward our vacation for the summer.


Date Posted: 1/8/2009 7:00 PM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2007
Posts: 22
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Since I opened this thread, I guess I should reply!  Thanks for all the posts and links.  It seems there still is no consensus. 

So my next question is...where shall I find out about swapping children's books here?  Should I look for an upcoming notice on the home page?  Or perhaps an email?  I was wondering if I should be pushing my children's books now, before Feb 10.  Thanks,  --Barbara