Expert reveals 'need-to-know' warning about children's 'vintage' reading books

health 24/02/2020

US based expert Tamara Rubin has revealed details on just how safe our old children's books really are.

There are plenty of us who have old kids books on our bookshelfs - they're great for our kids (and even our grandkids) when they start to read or get into books.

But while they seem innocent, that may not be the case.

Tamara, who runs the website Lead Safe Mama, has done extensive testing on many different 'vintage' children's books and found some rather interesting data.

Ms Rubin found that there is "a potential significant Lead dust hazard with old books, and that can include concerns for both the inhalation of and ingestion of Lead-containing micro-dust."

She continues to mention that while lead is not considered carcinogenic, it is a neurotoxin and that "all public agencies agree that there is no “safe” level of Lead exposure for a child."

She cites that many of her old books (especially those from the 40s, 50s and earlier that feature a hardcover and painted decorations) have tested positive for  4,000  – 8,000 ppm Lead (or higher).

She states that in ths day and age, any that feature a test above 90 ppm Lead or higher in the paint or coating are to be considered illegal to be sold as an item "intended for use by children".

The findings have forced Tamara to issue a warning to parents about the dangers of vintage books.

She writes: "Vintage books are not generally safe for children to play with or read [and while this one is fairly low Lead, I have tested many vintage books that have much higher levels — in some cases orders of magnitude higher!]. If you must keep them for sentimental reasons, please keep them locked in a case behind glass – as you might with works of art, or other items of historical significance."

"Books made after 1980 are more likely to be Lead-free (but this is in no way guaranteed). Your best bet in looking for safe books (safe from a toxicant / heavy metal perspective) for use by young children is to only purchase books printed after 2011 (after which the United States Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 was fully enforceable.)"

See the results from Tamara's extensive research here - or jump to the results from a some of the books tested below.