It with a heavy heart and a very confused soul that I write this post today. So, on February 10, the "Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act" went into effect in America, making it illegal for consumer products intended for children under 12 to have more than 600 parts per million of lead in any accessible part. This is great as it will supposedly help keep creepy China-made evil toys out of the hands of our children. However, this also means that makers of handmade toys and children's clothes (like the Moms and Dads who create things out of their homes to sell on Etsy) will no longer be able to sell their products without spending thousands of dollars on product testing. This much I had known.
But, apparently, all vintage children's products fall under the rule as well. As far as vintage books go, any book printed before 1985 when America's anti-lead laws went into effect... is deemed suspect until tested, therefore unless it undergoes testing to prove it cootie-free, it will become illegal and suspect and must be DESTROYED. Because of complaints, a one year "Stay of Enforcement of Certain Testing and Certification Requirements of CPSIA" was enacted — which means that they are proposing a 1 year suspension of the burden of lead testing and certification while they take more time to review the rules and plan enforcement. All this means is that booksellers wouldn't have to pay to do the certification and testing for another year, but they would still liable if their vintage products are found to have lead.
So it seems smaller, independent booksellers who know the value of these books are boxing their pre-85 product and holding on to them in storage until this madness blows over. Other larger thrift store chains like Goodwill are pulling the books and just dumping them in the garbage. I am sick about the whole thing.
Apparently, there is some exemption for "collectible children's books" that would be for adult collectors and not children, but we all know that is BS. There has not been one case ever of a children's book giving a child lead poisoning, so all this kinda got dumped into the same category.... sadly... I won't even go into how this will effect libraries, but just imagine your neighborhood library... over half of its children's section disappearing overnight... all of its out-of-print titles, vanishing into the dumpster out back.
Question 17: Can I sell vintage children’s books and other children’s products that are collectibles?
Yes. Used vintage children’s books and other children’s products sold as collector’s items would not be primarily intended for children. Because of their value and age, they would not be expected to be used by children. Therefore, they do not fall into the definition of children’s product and do not need to comply with the lead limits.
That said, this blog and ultimately my Etsy store were a super fun hobby for me, but until there is some resolution on this heartbreaking witch hunt, as of Saturday ~ Feb. 21, I will be pulling all pre-85 books from the shelves... and since Etsy only allows sales of books 20 years or older... that will just be a token really.... books printed between '85 and '89.
I will be posting some of my immediate surplus tomorrow, and selling all books with a flat rate shipping of $3 for all orders in the Continental US... with the knowledge that you guys are all adults who collect treasures and know what's best for yourselves and your kids. Saturday morning, all the books unsold with a pre-85 date will go back into my son's collection.
Apparently, you are not allowed to giveaway these books either ("these books" meaning the books your mother and your grandmother and even you were raised on), I will no longer be giving away books on Mondays, at least pre-85 books. I will still try and giveaway reprints and the like when I find them... but let's just say the fun is over for now.
So... a bag of plastic "MADE IN CHINA" animals from Walmart is good and your mother's favorite book from childhood is toxic until proven innocent. If you want to help stop this insanity, check out the Handmade Toy Alliance and contact your congressman.
As for me, I will continue buying, collecting and giving vintage kids' books to my child. I will continue writing about them here every day. And as I sit and watch my son mouth a rubber frog from China that is filled with who knows what, I can't help but think the world has gone slightly mad this week.