I recently wrote about public libraries planning to ban older books because of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act passed by Congress last year. The NY City Journal has picked up on the story now that the damage seems to be spreading to retail book resellers.
Not until 1985 did it become unlawful to use lead pigments in the inks, dyes, and paints used in children’s books. Before then—and perhaps particularly in the great age of children’s-book illustration that lasted through the early twentieth century—the use of such pigments was not uncommon, and testing can still detect lead residues in books today. This doesn’t mean that the books pose any hazard to children.
As many have written in regard to the Democrats’ colossal spending bill that’s just passed into law, the first priority of all governmental action should be this simple maxim – First Do No Harm.
Old books never hurt anyone save for the barbed words written on the page. Certain of them have been toxic in that regard and remain in the hands of readers to young, naive, or foolish to make proper evaluations of their contents. Yet there is no complaint from Congress on that score despite the damage wrong by bad ideas spread in the 60s.
One can only make two assumptions about legislation such as CPSIA: Either Congress fears children will consume by mouth sufficient quantities of lead trace ink in proportion to lab rats testing the cancer-causing profile of artificial sweeteners or they are simply incompetent.
You be the judge.
“Imagine, if you will, that I am an idiot.
Then, imagine that I am also a Congressman.
But, alas, I repeat myself.”
— Mark Twain