Federal lawmakers seek delay in enforcement of lead law
January 07, 2011
More than a dozen federal lawmakers are asking the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to delay enforcement of the so-called lead law that effectively bans the sale of kid-sized dirtbikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), the AMA reports.
Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) drafted the letter and circulated it for other lawmakers to sign before sending it to the CPSC.
The CPSC -- charged with carrying out the law known as the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 -- has already postponed enforcement of a key portion of the law until May 1. The lawmakers want the federal agency to delay the enforcement even longer so that the current Congress can tackle the issue.
"It's clear the Consumer Product Safety Commission overstepped the intent of the law," said Rehberg. "The original legislation Congress passed was meant to keep kids safe from lead content in toys. Ironically, the overreaching enforcement puts kids at risk by forcing them to use larger, more dangerous machines that are intended only for adults. An extension of the current stay will provide the necessary time for Congress to fix this problem once and for all."
The CPSIA bans the making, importing, distributing or selling of any product intended for children 12 and under that contains more than a specified amount of lead in any accessible part. Aimed at children's toys, the law also ensnared kids' dirtbikes and ATVs because trace levels of lead can be found in parts such as batteries and brake calipers.
The law also requires all children's products be tested by independent laboratories approved by the CPSC and be certified that they comply with the law.
"We do not believe the original intent of the CPSIA was to include these vehicles in the Act's lead-ban provisions, and we support legislation that would permanently exclude them from the lead ban," the lawmakers said in a Jan. 4 letter to the CPSC.
"As you know, it is extremely important that young motorcycle and ATV riders use only appropriately sized machines," the lawmakers wrote. "The CPSC, user groups, and the motorcycle and ATV industry all agree that children suffer fewer injuries when they are kept from riding large ATVs designed for adults. The failure to extend the current stay (of enforcement) would be counterproductive to the work that has already been accomplished in promoting youth rider safety.
"Because of the broad definition of 'children's products' within the CPSIA and the CPSC's interpretation of the lead provision, a permanent legislative solution is needed to exempt the youth-model ATVs and off-highway motorcycles from the lead ban," the lawmakers wrote. "We ask the commission to extend the current deadline so that we may address this issue during the 112th Congress."
To view the letter in its entirety, follow this link: http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/assets/pdf/CPSC_Letter_Final_January_2011.pdf.
Besides Rehberg, others who signed the letter are Reps. Geoff Davis (R-Ky.), Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), Ron Paul (R-Texas), Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), Adrian Smith (Neb.), John Kline (R-Minn.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.).
"It's encouraging to see these members of the House are stepping up and asking the CPSC to delay enforcement of the law," said Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations. "This sends a clear signal that the issue is on the radar of federal lawmakers and they plan to work to solve the problem so that kids have access to right-sized machines.
"Now we must show our support," Moreland said. "With members of the 112th Congress now rolling up their sleeves to get to work, it's important for all concerned parents and riders to contact their federal lawmakers in the House and Senate to change the lead law. Kids' dirtbikes and ATVs need to be exempt from the lead-content portion of the CPSIA."
To contact federal lawmakers today, go to the AMA website at AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Rights > Issues and Legislation and follow the simple instructions.