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The sale of youth motorcycles or ATVs may become illegal Feb. 10 unless the government grants the powersports industry an exemption from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act's prohibition on lead in products destined to be used by children.

The Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) and the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) today filed petitions with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for emergency relief from the provision, which takes effect Feb.10. The organizations are seeking a temporary final rule to exempt ATV and motorcycle parts, to avoid major disruptions to enthusiasts, the member companies' businesses, and to the thousands of retailers who sell the products.

“Some ATV and motorcycle parts unavoidably contain small quantities of lead,” says Paul Vitrano, EVP and general counsel, SVIA. “Lead in these components is necessary, either for safety, as in the case of facilitating the machining of tire valves critical to assuring tire air retention, or for functionality, such as the lead in battery terminals.”

Vitrano, who also serves as general counsel of the MIC, says the new law provides for exclusions for inaccessible components and authorizes CPSC to grant petitions for exclusions under certain conditions, but CPSC has not yet granted any for ATVs and motorcycles.

The CPSC recently released several proposals to address exclusions it might adopt, but the public comment period for these proposals is scheduled to end Feb. 17 — a week after the Feb. 10 effective date for the new lead provisions.

“By delaying release of these proposals, CPSC will provide no meaningful guidance to product manufacturers and distributors eager to comply with the law prior to the Feb. 10 deadline,” Vitrano says.

Without the exemption, huge inventories of products that present no health risk to children could be rendered retroactively illegal, and future products prohibited from sale
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