Congress passes lead law exemption for ATVs

Congress has passed a bill that would categorically exclude youth off-highway vehicles from lead provisions in the Consumer Product Safely Improvement Act of 2008.

The bill, H.R. 2715, passed through the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday by a vote of 421-2 after being introduced by Mary Mack Bono (R-Calif.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.). The Senate then followed suit by passing the bill later in the day. The bill now heads to President Barack Obama.

The legislation grants an exception to all youth powersports vehicles from the CPSIA’s rule that prohibits lead from products intended for children 12 years old and younger. Youth ATVs and dirtbikes can contain lead in certain parts, including batteries and valve stems.

“For more than two years, the powersports industry and its riders have urged Congress to categorically exclude youth dirtbikes and ATVs from the CPSIA’s lead content provisions,” said Paul Vitrano, general counsel of the Motorcycle Industry Council. “ATVs and dirtbikes do not present any lead-related health risk to young riders, and Congress has made it clear that it never intended the lead content restrictions and testing requirements for toys to apply to these vehicles. We are gratified that our community’s passion and perseverance have paid off and now both houses of Congress have passed the bill containing categorical exclusions in the same day.”

Added American Motorcyclist Association Washington representative Rick Podliska, “We’re extremely pleased that members of both parties in both houses of Congress have agreed to exempt kids’ dirtbikes and all-terrain vehicles from the lead law that would have effectively banned them at the end of the year. It is time for this nearly three-year ordeal to be over, so America’s motorcycling and ATV-riding families can once again ride with the peace of mind that their lifestyle will no longer be threatened by this misguided lead law.”

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) had been working to enact the measure since 2009. The MIC and thanked her for her work.

“This legislation will help both ensure children’s safety and spare countless businesses and individuals unnecessary cost and disruption,” Klobuchar said. “After years of hard work, I am pleased that this common-sense solution will finally become law.”

Polaris Industries CEO Scott Wine said, “On behalf of riders and manufacturers everywhere, I would like to thank Senator Klobuchar for her dedication and leadership in ensuring that youth powersports vehicles are available for our young riders to safely and responsibly enjoy with their families. This unfortunate situation went on far too long, and I am glad that Congress has finally corrected the error for all Minnesotans.”

Claude Jordan, president and CEO of Arctic Cat added, “The Arctic Cat family would like to thank Senator Klobuchar and her team for their dedicated efforts in pushing through this legislative modification. This will ensure that our youth customers have access to riding the right products. Additionally, the increased volumes resulting from this action will continue to support additional manufacturing jobs for Minnesota.”

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