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Books now safe to eat

Children’s book publishers in the U.S. are grappling with a new act of Congress, introduced earlier this year, imposing strict safety standards on board books and other products destined for kids. Earlier this month, the Consumer Product Safety Commission “ the body overseeing the new guidelines “ clarified that “ordinary” ink-and-paper books printed after 1985 would be exempt from the stringent regulations, but publishers of “novelty and book-plus formats” will be required to submit to Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act-approved testing. From Publishers Weekly:

After a stay of enforcement, publishers have until February 10, 2010, to get their CPSIA-mandated third-party testing procedures in place. However, publishers and retailers have had to comply with the law’s safety requirements since February 10 of this year, which has led the large retail chains to demand testing for all children’s products, some as early as last November.

The impulse “ to reduce the risk of choking hazards and some toxins, such as lead “ is a good one, but predictably the publishing community is up-in-arms over what they perceive to be bureaucratic red tape. (In a recent blog post, one commentator felt compelled to clarify that “devouring” a book is just a metaphor.)