Banning books because of their content… lead content

Thursday, 26 February, 2009

Many children’s books printed in the US (and possibly elsewhere) prior to 1985 can no longer be sold or distributed, even at garage sales or by charity agencies, on account of the levels of lead that may be present in their inks and dyes.

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.

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