Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is federal legislation that seeks to decrease the levels of lead and phthalates in products intended for children. The law covers a variety of products and has been interpreted to include books.
What are Leads and Phthalates?
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, fine particles of processed or recycled lead or lead dust become a health hazard when they are inhaled or swallowed. They define lead as a "shiny silver colored metal found naturally in the earth's crust." Lead has a variety of uses in our society, including in paints, gasoline, and some vinyl products, such as mini-blinds.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines phthalates as a group of chemicals used in the manufacture of plastics to increase their flexibility. The CDC states that the health effects of phthalates in people are not yet fully known.
The CPSIA in your Community
This proposed legislation, intended to protect children from lead and phthalates, has been speculated to include children's materials that are available in library settings. If so, libraries would be required to remove all books published prior to 1986 from their collections. It has been determined by the CDC that books published after 1985 do not have significant levels of lead to pose a health risk. The median publication date of books in the Springfield-Greene County Library District is 2002, so the majority of our books are excempt from this legislation and not considered harmful.
For more information:
- Consumer Safety and the Library Fact Sheet from the Library
- CDC: Lead-based ink poses little risk, Springfield News-Leader, March 22, 2009
- Overview of the CPSIA from the American Library Association
- Regulating Toxic Chemicals: Do We Know Enough About Chemical Risks?* CQ Researcher, January 23, 2009 (library card required)
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