Lead in book ink

Things get crazier and crazier as we lose the use of things we and our ancestors have used, enjoyed and appreciated for generations.

It was with disbelief that I read a headline, "Lead feared in children's books," with a warning by the Consumer Product Safety Commission that urges that children's books printed before 1986 be removed from library shelves because the ink may "contain unsafe levels of lead." I then heard the same story on a news broadcast.

Ridiculous! Bizarre!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deny any real danger.

Jay Dempsey, a health communications specialist for the CDC says the lead-based paint in older books poses little danger.

Emily Sheketof, executive director of the American Library Association's Washington office is reported to have said, "We're talking about tens of millions of children's books that are perfectly safe. I wish that a reasonable, rational person would just say 'This is stupid. What are we doing?"

I repeat, what are these people trying to do? What is their purpose?

Generations of children and adults alike have read books and papers printed with lead-based ink without harm. Books and literature have been the basis of the huge differences between educated nations and Third World countries.

Education, the ability to read books printed with the lead-based ink these loonies would ban, has marked the difference in countries and peoples.

Looking back, I remember books all my life. There are vague memories of UncleWiggly, and other story books Mother read to us. After the fire, when I was seven, we had five volumes of our Books of knowledge grabbed from the burning house. There were Daddy's professional books, a few assorted books. Two classic fiction books, Jack London's Call of the Wild and Johnson's To Have and to Hold, I read over and over. Friends of Mother occasionally sent a book for Christmas. I remember Felix Salten's Bambi. We had the Saturday Evening Post and Ladies Home Journal.

One Christmas a friend sent my mother a Lew Wallace murder mystery.

Mother, my sister and I stayed up all night, sitting on the bed, taking turns reading it aloud, shivering deliciously.

Once or twice a year, a box of books came to the school from the county library. We gabbed and read. How wonderful it was when I started high school and had daily access to the treasures of the Trinity County Library.

Danger of lead ink in old books, Phooey!

© 2009 Anderson Valley Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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