If you happen to notice fewer children’s books at your local small book store or thrift store, there is a reason: the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The law aims to protect consumers from lead in children’s products (it passed Congress following the scare of lead paint found in toys from China). Unfortunately, children’s books published before 1985 commonly used lead pigments for illustrations. So, bye, bye children’s books: stores can only sell (or give away) such books after testing which, you guessed it, is so expensive that most retailers are simply throwing such books out. Such a sequence of events could be devastating to libraries or small book stores, and, of course, to our culture. But are these books really a threat? As Walter Olson points out in this City Journal article, “no one seems to have been able to produce a single instance in which an American child has been made ill by the lead in old book illustrations-not surprisingly, since unlike poorly maintained wall paint, book pigments do not tend to flake off in large lead-laden chips for toddlers to put into their mouths.”
More info here.