While I don't write children's books, I have to wonder what the House and Senate did to the industry when, in October, they voted (apparently without reading or understanding) to allow the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act to check for lead content in all children's books on bookstore shelves. Check out these articles http://www.hometownannapolis.com/cgi-bin/read/2009/01_29-07/REG and http://c3library.com/2009/01/05/cpsia-and-libraries/.
What the new law basically says is that since lead has been found in so many children's toys lately (thank you NAFTA for allowing everything to be made in China!), that books may also contain lead in the inks used.
"The first major requirement deadline is February 10, 2009 in which the initial lead ban goes into effect. Many in the retail industry are calling February 10th National Bankruptcy Day because of the devastating costs and testing requirements that apply to ALL children’s products," says the Convergence of Libraries and Technologies article.
Each book needs to be tested, and the largest problem is that there is only one place in the US that does this kind of testing. With a rather stiff fine of $100,000. per instance of non-compliance … well, let's just it's just pure stupidity.
I don't think I need to go on about how our elected officials are doing our bidding (NOT!), but it certainly makes you wonder what applying just a wee bit of forethought to their actions would have uncovered to prevent this mess of an already waning industry.
On the side of reason and intelligence, many societies and library associations are petitioning for a closer look at the law to make the necessary adjustments for a more realistic form of compliance.