In the midst of the debt-ceiling debacle, Congress surprised publishers and retailers by taking unexpected action and actually getting something right. The House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) by 421-2 that excludes regular printed children's books and learning materials from the lead-content testing requirements that are due to take effect shortly. The Senate quickly approved the same measure by voice vote before adjourning, sending the bill on to President Obama for signing into law.
The amendment has been three years in the making, and its quick
passage was a happy surprise to supporters. The amendment also makes
clear the CPSIA applies only to new products, further relieving
pressure on sellers of used goods, libraries and others. Most coverage
so far focuses on all-terrain vehicles for kids, which were also exempted along with bicycles and used kids products.
The AAP's Allan Adler said in a statement the passage "resolves a
problem that has vexed the Consumer Product Safety Commission since
CPSIA was enacted in 2008: the inadvertent inclusion of ordinary books
and similar materials in its all-inclusive definition of 'children's
products' requiring testing for exposure to lead."