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Monday, Mar. 10, 2014
Is Congress okaying the burning of books?Posted Friday, March 20, 2009, at 5:05 PM
We need to call Congress and tell them to wake up and smell the books...
Once again I find myself almost speechless and wanting to bop Congress and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on the heads like they do in that V8 commercial. Why, you ask? Because of the news of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. I admit, it passed into law last August and went into effect February 10, 2009, and I'm just learning about it now. However here is the shortened version of what you need to know from Minnesota Moms
ABOUT THE LAW
WHAT: Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act
WHEN: Law takes effect Feb 10.
WHAT IT DOES: Limits lead levels in children's products to 600 parts per million, dropping to 300 parts per million in August. It requires third-party testing to verify compliance.
PRODUCTS AFFECTED: Thousands of children's items including books, clothing, furniture and tableware, and toys.
So why does this leave me almost speechless? Because I find the government going just a little to far. Is getting lead out of kids toys a good idea? Overall, yes. Though how many lead toys did we have as kids in the 80s? How many toys did our parents have with lead in them? Do we blame everything on this? According to the the Mayo Clinic's web site Long-term exposure to lead can cause nervous system and kidney damage; speech, language, hearing and behavioral problems; and learning difficulties. Is this why are kids are more inclined to have ADHD now a days? Did they play with to much lead? I'm sorry, I'm not buying it. Well, actually, I did buy toys, but I'm not buying that the toys are the cause of all our problems.
Let us get back to the OTHER products affected, they include, to my biggest chagrin, Books and Clothing. BOOKS! Can you believe it? When is the last time you heard of lead levels in a book hurting someone? How many librarians have had kidney damage and speech problems? Maybe Congress should research that. Congress tries to make it sound better by saying only books before 1985 are affected. They also have a solution for all the schools and public libraries. The institutions just have to have their books tested for lead which costs have all been quoted over $100 (some as high as $800) per book! With Le Mars having to make cutbacks (including cutting operating days for the library) and our schools having to make enormous cutbacks, how are we supposed to pay for all this testing? Mind you if we don't, our libraries could face a $100,000 fine unless they cut off service or get rid of all books printed before 1985 that are available for kids 12 and under. The director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch, David Arkush told CNN, "They don't have to test every book, obviously. They don't even have to test anywhere near every title. I think they really have to test a reasonable sample size of different classes of books -- different types of binding, different types of materials used."
Arkush's suggestion still includes the manpower and time of finding these select few books on the taxpayer's dollar. And once they're found how long will these books be at testing sites before they are released back to libraries? Meanwhile will the libraries have to close down their children's sections? If you think of the Le Mars Public Library, that's half of the library!
If the affects on the libraries haven't touched you yet, what if you consider clothing stores? People that make their own small clothing lines or wooden toys are all affected too. Many of these small companies will shut down if they are not able to get an exemption to this law. And if you think it's just small companies, consider this: Kathleen Scrafano, a senior director with Goodwill Industries of in California's Greater East Bay area, said that without the exemption, it would have to discontinue accepting and selling children's goods, leading to more waste in landfills and decreasing sales by 9 percent, or $1.8 million annually. And that's just in California!
Of course like Arkush tried to tell the libraries the product safety commission told retailers and thrift stores such as Goodwill they won't be required to test for lead. But the commission offered scant comfort by reminding the shops that they are still legally liable for ensuring products sold are in compliance. Which means they have to pay a $100,000 fine for anything found with non-complying lead levels in their store.
If Congress can stop Goodwill (and any thrift store for that matter) from having to sell these things how long will it be before they show up at your garage sale or inspect our homes for these harming toys? And what do we do with these toys that are banned? Is it safe to burn them? Can they be recycled? Do they just get buried and fill up our landfills? In the meantime who, other than Congress, is going to openly suggest burning a copy of Green Eggs and Ham? I know I won't and can't. But that's what our Congress has turned this into - a possible HUGE book burning session, all on the backs of taxpayer dollars.
So I encourage you to talk to your congressmen (their information is posted on page 4 of the Daily Sentinel every day and can also be found at http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home... then look at the left side for My Elected Officials and type in your zip code) and encourage them to make libraries and possibly more exempt from this beyond ridiculous recall law.
In the mean time please don't burn any books or throw them away, they are ahuge learning tool and my parents and I are still alive so really how much harm is the lead in our books? I'll leave you with the thoughts on the subject by Chip Gibson, president and publisher of Random House Children's Books, "This is a potential calamity like nothing I've ever seen. The implications are quite literally unimaginable."
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I started blogging about my fun experiencing parenthood and have found it has evolved into more than just parenting - its an observation of life as we know it. I'm a bystander in this country just as we all are, and sometimes, opinions just need to be said without fear of being burnt at the stake.