The spirit of the law and the letter of the law continue to clash as the February 10 date looms for the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The law, as it is now written, prohibits even the distribution of any product designed for children 12 and under.
Congress and/or the Consumer Product Safety Commission have to clarify—and soon—whether lending of books falls under the jurisdiction of the CPSIA.
The article quotes Emily Sheketoff of the American Library Association: “We are very busy trying to come up with a way to make it not apply to libraries,” said Sheketoff. But unless she succeeds in lobbying Capitol Hill for an exemption, she believes libraries have two choices under the CPSIA: “Either they take all the children’s books off the shelves,” she says, “or they ban children from the library.”
This begs the question: In addition to books, does the retroactive nature of the law mean that other items currently in classrooms, such as crayons, scissors—even photocopied worksheets—must be tested before they can be passed out to the children? The fuzzy language of the law is making this very difficult for anyone to clarify, and you’ll see from the article that, really, no one knows what to do.