Friday, January 30, 2009

CPSIA - It Has Come to This . . . .

Here is the American Library Association's Call to Action in which they instruct libraries NOT to throw out their books because of the CPSIA. Do you like living in the surreal world as much as I do? I think Big Brother would be very gratified to know that discarding books has become a big issue in America now. Stupid me, I always thought the "dangerous" part of a book is the WORDS - no, in fact, it's just the ink! Apparently I misunderstood why people have been burning books over the years . . . .


It's time to contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission regarding CPSIA

1/22/2009 Call to Action!

It's time to contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission regarding the implications for libaries of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).

Sample text of a letter to fax or mail to the CPSC(also cc: your elected officials!)

It is not necessary at this time to make plans to either close the library, or remove materials from the shelves. The action needed now is communicating to the powers-that-be that it is essential to exempt books and/or libraries from this law. [Emphasis added]

From the ALA Washington Office:

A public meeting was held January 22 with Kristina Hatlelid, Directorate for Health Sciences, and other Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff to allow Allan Robert Adler, of the Association of American Publishers, and major publishing companies to discuss the lead content of books. The meeting was a time for the publishing companies to explain their research to the CPSC staff that proves that normal books (non-play, paper books) do not contain lead in the amount specified under the CPSIA. The publishing companies have compiled a group of 300 test results that can be viewed here.

After the meeting, Cheryl Falvey, General Counsel for the CPSC, stated that a decision should be made by the first week of February. She advised libraries not to take any action at this time, and we are hopeful that the Commission’s decision will exempt libraries.

Even with her assurances, we must let the CPSC know how important an issue this is to libraries. You can visit their Web site, found here, to submit your comments to the Commission. Explain to the Commission that it is simply impossible for libraries to remove all children’s books from the shelves and/or ban children under 12 from the library and still provide the level of service that is needed.

Please feel free to use the sample language here, but personalize it to make your comments known. Studies have shown that individual letters are significantly more effective than form letters, so let’s make sure they understand how important their action will be.

As always, thank you for all that you do. The only way we will be successful in ensuring that children will have access to safe books is with a strong grassroots effort. Your comments to the CPSC need to be submitted as soon as possible, so please tell all your friends and family – we need as many people as possible to communicate that this oversight could have lasting ramifications on our children and our communities.


Esther said...

I wrote two recent blog entries on the ALA and CPSIA. It is nice to see the ALA has finally issued a call to action. I worry though that it might be too little too late. I can't believe they assume libraries would actually throw books out. It's the dumbest thing I have ever heard. And yet this legislation has the power to have book burnings at a scale the Nazi's could never achieve. The ALA and publishing industry has been wasting time trying to negotiate with the "powers that be" when it is clear it hasn't gone anywhere. I suggested a call to action for a day of protest in which libraries DO shut down their children sections. It would garner the kind of media and public pressure that neither CPSC or Waxman would be able to tolerate.

Anonymous said...

Today JAN 30 is the deadline for comments to CPSC on allowing crafters to use safe materials instead of testing.

Moms Rising put up a super-easy action link. Here it is. Click Here to Send a Letter to CPSC

It's quick and easy. Please forward it to all your friends.

Anonymous said...

UPDATE: 1/30/09 - "January 30: The ALA Washington Office has been informed verbally that a notice will be posted on the CPSC Web site on Monday, February 2, indicating they are postponing enforcement of the CPSIA on books in library collections until they can investigate further. Many thanks to all who contacted the CPSC with concerns! Your voices have apparently been heard; stay tuned and check back on Monday."

It's interesting that the CPSC is only postponing "enforcement". Apparently there is still a posibility even libraries will be included in a final ruling.

Complet Update:

Anonymous said...

Link update to previous post:

Anonymous said...

not sure why full url wont post
here is is again

Anonymous said...

Set. Jim DeMint is going to introduce legislation next week to stop the madness:

HMA said...

Hi, Rick,
First of all, thanks for being such a voice of reason. I know how exhausting this mess is and how many things all of us could be doing (like conducting business... go figure).
I just wanted to share this... could it be what the ALA was talking about?
Is it the good news that it seems like?

The Happy Tomato said...

While I absolutely believe that this stay only amounts to an epidural administered before we are required to do the final pushing, I am confused as to how there can be a stay on books and library collections when yesterday's CPSC release specifically retains among 4 categories, testing for "surface coatings?"

How is ink--particularly glossy covers and those darn surface-coating pictures found in illustrated books, going to get past this?

I am not trying to be naysayer & nudge, I am only ever-more confused--and confused about how to present this for perhaps less-obssessed non-industry folk and moms I am blogging it for?

But then what do I know?--I should just stand down and be happy I can go back to making my dangerous cotton onesies...

Anonymous said...

Rick, I'm sure you'll be as delighted as the rest of us to learn that the CPSC has issued a 1 year stay of enforcement on the CPSIA to both provide some temporary relief to businesses and give themselves time to work out the details. Congressman DeMint is also proposing legislation to revamp the CPSIA. But there are a lot of unhappy consumer groups now and we are also still at the mercy of our individual attorney generals. This is a small victory, but our work is not done yet!

Eric Black said...

The problem is that the 1-year stay of enforcement doesn't eliminate the liability for violating the new lower limits, so without testing the books are presumed to harbor unsafe levels of lead and/or phthalates.

Can't burn the books: under CPSIA, without testing the books are presumed to be hazardous waste, so burning would release all that presumed lead into the air for our children to breathe!

No doubt there are other laws against public buildings (like libraries) storing hazardous waste, so the libraries can't even store the books out of reach of children.

But it's only hazardous waste if children 12 years or younger reach for it. Otherwise, under the law, it's perfectly OK. I suppose 12 year-olds aren't expected to use libraries.