I can’t wrap my brain around the latest CPSIA news. There have been some developments lately, but there’s still a long way to go.
However, this latest thing, it just about leaves me speechless. I first read about it at Overlawyered:
To take just one example, that of resale, thrift and consignment stores, the CPSC guidance advises that such stores discard, or refuse to accept donations of, a very wide range of childrenâ€™s items unless they are willing to test the items for lead or call their original manufacturer â€” neither of which steps is consistent with the economics of an ordinary small thrift store. Included in the suspect list are most childrenâ€™s clothing (because most of it has snaps, buttons, zippers, grommets or other closures with unknown/unproved metal or plastic content), most books that were printed before 1985 or that (even if more recent) include metal or plastic elements such as staples* or spiral binders; most playthings (dolls, balls, trains, toy cars, etc.), most shoes and hair ornaments, most sporting goods, outdoor play items and wagons, board games when including any plastic spinners, tokens or other items, all bicycles and tricycles in kidsâ€™ sizes, most decorations for kidsâ€™ rooms, nearly everything with metal or synthetic applique, most school, art and science supplies, and on and on. ~ Read the rest of it here.
I know there’s a lot of stuff there to focus on and really, I’m not upset to see the cheap and cheesy plastic toys get pared down, that’s a good thing. I’m definitely not upset about purging items which really do have questionable or hazardous materials. But there is undoubtedly a lot of perfectly good clothing, board games. shoes, and other things that families on a lower income can really use. Thrift stores are a huge help for these families – trust me, I know!!
But what really makes me sad is the thought of all those books getting heaped in the dumpster! After the above article, Overlawyered focused more on the vintage books, and what I read there made me slightly naseous.
As readers are aware, the Consumer Product Safety Commission yesterday advised thrift stores and other resellers and distributors of used goods to discard (unless they wished to test for lead or take other typically unpractical steps such as contacting manufacturers) childrenâ€™s books printed before 1985 and a very wide range of other childrenâ€™s products, including apparel and playthings.
I just came back from my local thrift store with tears in my eyes! I watched as boxes and boxes of childrenâ€™s books were thrown into the garbage! Today was the deadline and I just canâ€™t believe it! Every book they had on the shelves prior to 1985 was destroyed! I managed to grab a 1967 edition of â€œThe Outsidersâ€ from the top of the box, but so many! ~ Read the rest of it here.
I have to admit, the first thing I thought of was Orwell’s 1984. A bit extreme? Prehaps, but then again, perhaps not. The reasons are different, but the bottom line is that Big Brother is telling us to “burn” (or dump) our kids’ books. And you know what? I wasn’t the only one who thought it. Valerie at The Bookroom thought about it too (HT: 5 Kids and a Dog.) Valerie writes:
Dear Mr. Orwell,
Childrenâ€™s books were invented after 1984.
Before 1985, there was no Dick. There was no Jane. There was no McGuffy. No boy named Tom painted a fence, â€˜Anneâ€™ didnâ€™t end with an â€˜eâ€™, and no one had yetÂ thought of puttingÂ â€pictures or conversationâ€ on paper for children.
In fact, children didnâ€™t learn to read in the old, oldÂ days before our Leaders saved us from our long, dark night. Back in 1984, thereÂ was only a dry wasteland of technical books, encyclopedias, service manuals, and other books for adults.~ Read the rest of it here.
So what can we do?
We can make lots of calls. Apparently it’s the only thing we can do because the Senate Commerce Committee is restricting hearings on this. Valerie also says:
I called the SBA Office of Advocacy today and was told that CPSIA is a â€œhuge undertaking on many levels,â€ introduced with â€œpoor timing.â€ I was encouraged to contact the House and Senate Commerce Committees and â€œturn up the heatâ€ with â€œlots of calls.â€ I was told, â€œThe more calls, the more influence.â€
What we need to understand is that the Senate Commerce Committee is restricting hearings on this.Â Henry Waxman, chairman of the Committee on Energy & Commerce and Bobby Rush, chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection donâ€™t want any reasonable amendment and are refusing to allow any discussion. ~ Read the rest of it here.
Who do you call? Valerie has an extensive list in that last article, complete with phone numbers. Here’s a few:
Senate Commerce Committee 202-224-5115
(Becky Hooks takes care of this for the minority.)
Commerce committee members are listed at http://commerce.senate.gov/members.htm
House Commerce Committee (202) 225-2927
Commerce committee members are listed at
Click on â€œAbout the Committeeâ€ and then click on the â€œMembershipâ€ tab.