Most vintage books have at least some amount of lead. The amount of lead that is considered toxic in a modern item manufactured and intended to be used by children is 90 ppm or higher in the coating (or paint) and 100 ppm (or higher) in the substrate.
This 1965 printing of “Great Detective Stories” (which belonged to my cousin Robert, and is one of my kids’ favorite books) was positive for lead at levels as high as 255 ppm. Since I tested this book I have stopped letting my children read it, although I might read it to them with thorough hand washing.
Simple Solution: New books are generally lead-free. Given my children’s disabilities we also LOVE books-on-tape. Here’s a post with some of our favorite (very well done) books on tape! [They are great for road trips too!]
If you appreciate my independent consumer goods testing and childhood lead poisoning prevention advocacy work, please consider chipping in (here) so I can keep doing what I do! Thank you!
As always, if you have any questions – please let me know!