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SEATTLE -- Because of exclusive work done by KIRO Team 7 Investigators, we are now certain some children's books at your local library contain toxic levels of lead.
Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne reveals results of our own certified tests -- results so explosive they've already caught the attention of Congress.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), starting this year, children's products are considered hazardous with lead levels exceeding 300 parts per million -- but even that's considered unsafe.
A new federal law says toys and children’s books with lead over 100 parts per million can't be sold or distributed two years from now.
The books we tested show respective lead levels at 546 and 456 parts per million -- over the allowable safe limits.
Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne traveled to Washington, D.C., to speak to the head of the American Library Association about its request for a blanket exemption to lead testing.
Both books were printed before 1983, but experts repeatedly told KIRO Team 7 Investigators, because there has not been a comprehensive study on lead in used books, they cannot identify a pattern of what kinds of books might contain toxic levels. There is a study that shows books printed after 2004 by major manufacturers of children’s books have no traceable lead levels.
Our investigation into political efforts to exempt library books from the new lead standard laws is far from over.
Halsne discovered a major "study," cited by the Library Association as proof that ordinary books don’t contain lead, is not what it appears.
We'll bring you that developing investigation as soon as we can.
Lead exposure is one of the most common preventable poisonings of childhood. Data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows that 6% of all children ages 1-2 years and 11% of black (non-Hispanic) children ages 1-5 years have blood lead levels in the toxic range. Lead is a potent poison that can affect individuals at any age. Children with developing bodies are especially vulnerable because their rapidly developing nervous systems are particularly sensitive to the effects of lead.
Almost all children in the United States are exposed to lead. Common sources include lead paint and lead contained in water and soil. Housing built before 1950 has the greatest risks of containing lead-based paint. Some children may eat or swallow chips of paint (pica) which increases their risk of exposure to lead.
Exposure to lead can have a wide range of effects on a child's development and behavior. Even when exposed to small amounts of lead levels, children may appear inattentive, hyperactive and irritable. Children with greater lead levels may also have problems with learning and reading, delayed growth and hearing loss. At high levels, lead can cause permanent brain damage and even death.