14 November 2010

New health and safety lunacy: banning books

It seems that in the USA they are planning to ban children's books published before 1985, on the ground they they might, just possibly, contain too much lead.

New federal law bans children's books printed before 1985 - National Civil Liberties | Examiner.com:
Until 1985, it was legal for trace amounts of lead to be used in the inks and paints used in children's books. But the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (PDF), which went into effect February 10, bans the sale of any children's products containing more than 600 parts per million (ppm) total lead, no matter how unlikely it is that the items will feature at a toddler buffet. The Consumer Products Safety Commission has 'clarified' the issue with contradictory guidance that has thrift stores and even libraries disposing of mountains of books published before the magic date -- and hoping that a stray copy of The Wind in the Willows doesn't bring down the wrath of the regulators.

Is this the law of unintended consequences, or health and safety concerns gone mad? Ot is it censorship "for your own good"?


jams o donnell said...

And yet they don't ban guns which contain far bigger traces of lead!

The Western Confucian said...

I'm pro-gun, but I found that comment hilarious!

Ironic that 1984 is the cut-off date. It would be appropriate if they were "disposing [these] of mountains of books" by burning, but surely there is a federal regulation against that as well. The conspiracy analyst in me thinks it may be more for moral content than lead content. The old books focused on building character and virtue, not self-esteem.

The Singular Observer said...

Having lived on the N-American continent now for nearly 4 years now, I find the safety paranoia laughable at times, but it is extremely idiotic, stupid, hysterical, dumb - you get the drift I think?

Normally it starts either with some company producing a new product, or some self-proclaimed bimbo of an expert, then it gets blow-up by the hysterical media, then the politician feels he/she has to do something to be seen to do something otherwise they might loose their job and all the lobbyist money, and then they do the darn stupid thing.

As a scientist, I find it frustrating. As an armchair philospoher / observer, I find it enlightening in a frighting sort of way. As a parent, I find it damned frustrating.

James Higham said...

Thin edge of the wedge, Steve. Jams, of course, has it wrong - they're very much banning guns and that's the whole issue.


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