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CPSC votes to stay enforcement of lead law for youth models

May 5, 2009
Filed under Features

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has voted to stay enforcement of a controversial lead law as it applies to the sale of youth motorcycles and ATVs.

The stay extends through May 1, 2011, and follows a unanimous vote by Acting Chairwoman Nancy Nord and Commissioner Thomas Moore. A 25-page notice with complete details is available on the CPSC’s Web site.

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) praised the stay, while simultaneously calling for further action.

“While we applaud the CPSC commissioners’ vote to stay enforcement of the law, this doesn’t solve the real issue, which is the law itself,” Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations, said in a release. “Youth-model motorcycles and ATVs should be exempt from the law, and Congress needs to act to make that happen.”

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) echoed similar concerns.

“Although the commissioners’ intentions are laudable, it is clear that the stay of enforcement as drafted is a temporary stop-gap measure with conditions largely unrelated to safety,” the groups said in a release.

In particular, the industry groups point out that while the stay means the CPSC won’t take action against dealers who sell youth vehicles, businesses that sell such vehicles could still face penalties at the state level. It’s up to each state attorney general’s office to determine whether to enforce the law’s penalty. Additionally, the MIC/SVIA release says other federal agencies that must enforce the law are not bound by the CPSC’s decision.

“Due to the highly restrictive language of the CPSIA and the fact that the CPSC is not the only agency responsible for enforcing the law, this stay of enforcement is simply inadequate in legal terms and leaves the industry vulnerable to lawsuits and actions by federal and state agencies,” according to the release.

As an example, the groups cite concerns over how U.S. Customs and Border Protection will treat youth vehicles, which are technically still illegal.

“Because the CPSIA has now branded these products as ‘banned hazardous substances’ due to their minimal lead content, they cannot be imported into the United States,” the MIC/SVIA said in the release.

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