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Motorcycle and ATV waiver from lead law sought from Consumer Product Safety Commission

April 24, 2009

Pennsylvania state Rep. Bill DeWeese said an unintended consequence of new lead limit requirements imposed by the federal Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act has hampered the ability of young people to enjoy riding all-terrain vehicles.
 
"The law was crafted as a response to recent events where it was discovered that toys being made outside of the United States contained unsafe lead levels, yet were being sold in the country. But what the law effectively did was shut down the sales market of ATVs and off-road motorcycles to younger riders," said DeWeese, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington.
 
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act went into effect Feb. 10. Its provisions limit the lead content in all children’s products, which are defined as anything designed or intended primarily for children 12 and younger. Youth model ATVs and off-road motorcycles are severely impacted by the new requirements and the sale of these vehicles to children 12 and younger has been halted.
 
This week, DeWeese introduced H.R. 242, which seeks a waiver from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
 
"We’re asking the commission to grant an allowable exclusion to the lead requirement since riding these recreational vehicles does not present the same type of risk as placing a lead-covered toy into a young child’s mouth," DeWeese said.
 
In addition to the vehicles themselves, some replacement parts have been deemed unsafe by the law and therefore unable to be sold. Operators who can’t buy parts may be tempted to allow their ATVs to go beyond normal maintenance schedules, resulting in an improperly performing machine. They also may be forced to ride machines that are not sized for young riders. Both of these situations could lead to additional unsafe consequences.
 
If the sales ban is not overturned, it could lead to $1 billion in lost economic value annually for the industry, which includes many small, independent businesses that employ thousands of workers.
 
"The common sense approach would be for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to grant this exemption and maintain the stricter requirements for toys or other items that pose a true lead risk to children," DeWeese said.

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