Argentina bans unhealthy books

Here’s something you won’t read everyday: The Argentine government has severely restricted the importation of books due to human health concerns*:

That’s right. According to the government, it can be dangerous to “page through” a book that has high lead quantities in its ink. “If you put you finger in your mouth after paging through a book, that can be dangerous,” said Juan Carlos Sacco, the vice-president of an industrialist organization that supports the measure.

The government claims that this is not a ban. However, since each buyer has to demonstrate at the airport’s customs office that the ink in the purchased book has lead quantities no higher than 0.006% in its chemical composition, the result is that all book imports into the country are stalled.

*(following that link will lead you to an unpleasantly partisan right wing site, so be warned.) (Via)

2 thoughts on “Argentina bans unhealthy books

  1. I wonder if it’s only the ink and the export of dollars that worries them. The Junta, Peron etc. are no longer around but the power in place must be feeling insecure for them to go to such ridiculous measures. The flight capital may be a problem for them, as it has been for Grrece and Italy since the crisis took hold, but books? The ink on books?
    The power of the written word…

  2. The comment thread on the Volokh site suggests that it’s protectionism? I wouldn’t know that books are such a huge economic factor though.

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