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Sep 03

Ruling on Lead in Children’s Books

FROM THE ALA WASHINGTON OFFICE:

As the American Library Association (ALA) has emphasized since first enactment of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), concern for children’s safety is our first priority in providing materials to young patrons. On August 26, 2009, the CPSC’s final rule on children’s products containing lead was released. In the rule, CPSC confirmed that libraries have no independent obligation to test library books for lead under the law. CPSC also announced its intention to release a Statement of Policy specifically providing guidance for libraries with regard to the treatment of older children’s books that could potentially contain lead. According to our conversations with CPSC officials, that Statement of Policy should be released within the next several weeks.

While we await the Statement of Policy, ALA recommends that libraries take the following actions. If a library is aware that any children’s book does indeed contain lead above the legal limits or otherwise presents a danger to children, it should remove it from public access, for instance by moving it to the non-circulating collection. We would also ask that if libraries do learn of any books containing lead to please let the ALA – Washington Office know so that we might share that information with other libraries. When the Statement of Policy is released, we will promptly notify our members.

So, until we get further instructions, unless you know for certain that a book has lead in the pictures, you do not need to pull any children’s books from the shelves.  When a list of books becomes available we will post it. –C.B.

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