Feb 13, 2009

CPSC threathens U.S. motorcycle and cycling industries. Fight back!!

A vote passed by Congress and the Senate, back in August, took effect this past February 10th. This new ruling by the CPSC states that any product designed or/and intended for children under 12 shall not contain more than 600 ppm of lead. This, originally well intentioned, law designed to protect our children from toys made in China with high lead content has turned against a lot of sports and leisure activities including off-road and motocross riding, as well as mountain-biking and cycling.
As of 2 days ago, dealers throughout the US are not allowed to sell any bike under 100cc, and cycle shos cannot sell products for children who may contain lead (all bikes!). This stupid move will destroy a big part of motorcycling in the US as well as the future of America's status in world motocross, but also hurt 2 important business segments in the US.

Here's a bit more info, and info no how to help. If you ride, you have to act.

The Motorcycle Industry Council goes in defense mode:

[The Motorcycle Industry Council and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America are doing all they can at Dealer Expo 2009, and at their offices, to help get youth ATVs and motorcycles back on showroom floors. The U.S. Government banned sales of many of these models, beginning on Tuesday, under the lead-content provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).

"We're implementing a full court press at the Dealer Expo," said Paul Vitrano, general counsel for the MIC and SVIA. "We are rallying everyone at Indy. Pre-printed letters to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which can be signed and we'll send in, will be available throughout the show. Computers will be available in the MIC business center so that dealers and exhibitors can easily make their opinions known to members of Congress."

Everyone is encouraged to visit the Web site of Americans for Responsible Recreational Access, at www.ARRA-access.com, which features a letter generator for constituents to reach their own members of Congress. The MIC also is alerting stakeholders about a new Web site that state Rep. Tom Self of Missouri has launched in support of youth off-highway vehicles. The site, at www.tomself.com, offers e-mail templates to simplify sending messages to members of Congress with oversight of the CPSC.

For weeks, the MIC and SVIA have urged the CPSC to grant (and for members of Congress to support) petitions for temporary exclusions so that youth models could continue to be sold. The powersports industry demonstrated in the petitions, through the scientific analysis required by the CPSIA, that the lead-containing parts of youth ATVs and motorcycles pose no risk of increasing the lead levels in children aged 12 and younger.

On Feb. 5, the CPSC denied a request for an emergency stay, made by the National Association of Manufacturers CPSC Coalition, and joined by the MIC and SVIA. The CPSC stated that it did not have authority under the law to grant such a stay.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, however, includes provisions that enable the CPSC to grant exclusions for products on a case-by-case basis. The MIC and SVIA believe that the lead-content provisions of the act, which originally were aimed at toys that can be mouthed by children, were never intended to apply to youth ATVs and motorcycles.

On Feb. 10, the lead-content provisions of the CPSIA went into effect. Powersports companies are now prohibited from selling products that are intended primarily for youth, aged 12 and under, and having lead content in excess of the limits identified in the act.

The impact of this act is far-reaching. Applying the new lead-content regulations to youth models has resulted in many smaller models being unavailable to families, and could mean more children riding adult-only ATVs or dirt bikes that are too large for them.

Most of the components making up youth powersports products are in compliance. But some parts unavoidably contain small quantities of lead in excess of the CPSIA limits, such as the valve stems on the tires, the aluminum in some brake components and the terminals on the batteries. Lead in these components is necessary, either because small amounts of lead are needed for safety (such as machining the deep grooves on tire valves, which is needed to assure tire air retention) or functionality (such as the lead in battery terminals, which is needed to conduct electricity).

"It's critical for everyone within the business, and for all of our customers, to step up and support the petitions now in front of the CPSC," Vitrano said. "The ban is harming motorcycling and ATV riding right now. Dealernews has estimated that affected inventories could be more than $100 million. Kids don't have a chance to get on the bikes and ATVs sized for them. We need the power and voice of the industry, as well as enthusiasts, to reinforce our concerns in Washington. We're only asking for common-sense exclusions for powersports parts that simply do not present any risk to children in the real world. Kids don't lick or eat ATV and motorcycle components."]

Here's an article published in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News:

[Lead Rule Set to Take Effect Tomorrow (02/06/2009 5:00 PM MST)

BETHESDA, MD (BRAIN)—The Consumer Product Safety Commission on Friday denied a petition to push back a rule that limits the amount of lead in children’s products, but a request for relief specific to the bicycle industry is still pending.

As part of the Consumer Product Safety Information Act, a strict new rule is scheduled to go into effect tomorrow that limits the amount of lead in children’s products, including bikes, to 600 parts per million.
The National Association of Manufacturers filed a petition last week asking the commission to stay the rule for six months due to the lead limit potential to “effectuate a massive economic dislocation.”
The Commission voted 2-0 against the request, saying it doesn’t have the authority to delay the effective date of a law and that Congress must make that decision.
However, that’s not the case with the BPSA request, said Bob Burns, head of BPSA’s legislative committee.
“The difference between the NAM petition and the BPSA petition is, first, the CPSC did not have the statutory authority to grant the NAM petition and it does have the statutory authority to grant the BPSA petition. Second, the BPSA petition is based on sound toxicology that any lead that may be present in a brass alloy on a children’s bike does not pose a danger of lead poisoning to a child. I believe the BPSA’s is the first petition to be filed with supporting toxicology,” Burns said.
Some components in children’s bikes like capped valve stems, contain lead in excess of 600 parts per million.
The BPSA is asking for temporary relief from the rule because the parts in question contain less lead that what’s permitted in the European Union’s RoHS Directive, which restricts the use of hazardous materials in electrical and electronic equipment.
Burns said he is cautiously optimistic that the Commission will OK the petition—on Friday it granted an exclusion for the electronics industry based on the same evidence the BPSA used—but doesn’t expect to have an answer by tomorrow’s deadline.

But, on Friday, the Commission issued its enforcement policy for the lead limits that should provide very helpful guidance to the industry as Tuesday’s deadline approaches, Burns said.
The policy says that the Commission will “accept a manufacturer’s determination that a lead-containing part on their product is inaccessible to a child and not subject to the new lead limits, if it is consistent with the Commission’s proposed guidance or is based on a reasonable reading of the inaccessibility requirement.”
The policy will stand until the Commission rules otherwise.
Also on Friday, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) introduced a bill that would delay the CPSIA for six months and allow small manufacturers to use testing and certification of lead levels from their component suppliers instead of paying for expensive third party tests. The Commission already pushed back the third party testing deadline by one year, to Feb. 10, 2010.
—Nicole Formosa]