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Getting the lead out

For books printed prior to that date, however, the CPSC offers little guidance on how libraries, schools or thrift stores can identify which items are threats.

Flecha advised that children's products providers check www.cpsc.org for a list of recalled products, which became illegal to stock after the law was passed in August.

The CPSC also acknowledges it will not impose penalties on items made of "certain natural materials, such as wood, cotton, wool or certain metals and alloys which the commission has recognized rarely, if ever, contain lead."

According to Karen D'Angelo, director of the Town of Ballston Community Library, there are plenty of children's books made before 1985 on her shelves. There are also toys for children to play with while in the library that would have to comply with the new regulations.

In addition, the library runs a summer reading program in which donations of toys and books collected all year can be "purchased" by kids who build up book bucks by completing summer reading. It helps attract kids to books and keeps their minds sharp during the summer months, said D'Angelo, but if the library could be subjected to fines it might have to turn away some donations or halt the program altogether.

"The cost of providing summer reading incentives is going to go way up," if the library must cast such a discerning eye, she said. "I think it's a very good thing that they put it back a year, because it sounds like we're going to need that full length of time to figure out what they're going to do with it."

D'Angelo recently asked the Ballston Town Board to consider writing a letter to federal representatives supporting the ALA's grievances.""

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