Monday, February 09, 2009

Libraries can keep books with lead-containing ink

By Liz Szabo, USA TODAY

Librarians won't have to throw away their children's books after all on Tuesday, when a sweeping new product safety law takes effect.

The law, passed in August, dramatically cuts the amount of lead and other chemicals allowed in kids' products. That had librarians worried, because some books made before the 1980s had ink that contained lead.

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Today, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the federal agency in charge of enforcing the law, announced that it won't prosecute anyone for distributing "ordinary" children's books printed after 1985. These books have never been found to violate the new lead standards, which will mandate that kids' items contain no more than 600 parts per million beginning Tuesday. The standards get twice as tough in August when the limit will be 300 parts per million.

Given the way that kids tear and chew through library books, congressional staff involved in the legislation says it's unlikely that libraries have many children's books that are more than 24 years old.

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