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Books published before 1985 might be a lead poisoning danger to your children. Now there's something new to worry about. Why publishers would be printing kids' books with lead based inks in the late 80s when they had long before pulled lead based paint off the shelves is beyond me.

The bottom line is that before you buy those old books for a nickel you may want to figure the long term cost of treating your kids for lead exposure. Not to mention that you may have to deal with the inconvenience of criminal behavior and low IQ which are all symptoms of prolonged exposure to lead.

So, we need to toss these mind melting tomes in the trash, right? Wrong! Not only can these vintage treasures cause lead poisoning, if they go in the landfill the lead may get into the groundwater and come back to haunt you right out of the tap. And you can't burn the things because that will taint the very air we breathe. First there's the lead laden toys from China and now when you want to share the classics with your kids you're guilty of knowingly exposing them to lead.

So what's a mom who has gone to great lengths to stock her bookshelves with children's favorites from back in the day? Or what about the local librarian who certainly doesn't have time to monitor each and every baby and book? Well, the only answer is paying close attention to the dates that books are published, watch for lead poisoning symptoms and (you're going to love this) break out the old lead test kit and test each book that was published before the cutoff date mentioned in the report.

Is there any wonder that as we speak, people are hosting lead test parties all over the country. I can imagine the invitations say something like: Come for an afternoon of fun, frolic and swabbing to test your kids' reading material for lead.

As you know I'm a careful mother and that I've often had to err on the side of pure paranoia because of my daughter's illnesses at times. So, I hope you don't think I'm careless when I tell you that I'm not rushing to quarantine the books on my bookshelves. It's just that I have bigger fish to fry than what statistics dictate is more than likely a small risk factor.

I'm going to pay close attention to the books that the littlest members of my household read because they might think it's a good idea to lick the page if there's a picture of ice cream on it. But for the older girls, I worry more about lead poisoning from pencils, toys and our water supply more than exposure from print in an old book.

Return to Oooh Baby, Family Parenting and Environmental Issues to find more stuff to worry about that will keep moms from sleeping at night.