CPSC Blocks MIC Lead Content Petition

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has denied the motorcycle industry’s request for temporary relief from the lead content rule covering children’s toys that became effective Feb. 10, saying it didn’t have authority to grant that relief.

The petitions filed by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) sought temporary exclusions that would have provided an opportunity for powersports companies to clear out inventories that do not meet the new standards. The CPSC now will consider the MIC/SVIA submissions as it finalizes its rulemaking for granting permanent exclusions.

In a letter to the MIC/SVIA reviewed by Dealernews, the CPSC’s general counsel wrote that the CPSC does not have the authority to grant the requested delay. The commission can exclude certain materials only after “notice and a hearing and only if the commission makes the findings” as specified in the law, the letter states.

The comment period on the rule ends Feb. 17. “In the normal course it would be months after that date,” says Paul Vitrano, MIC general counsel. “But they may expedite in these circumstances,” he said.

At the same time, the MIC/SVIA are pushing hard to develop industry and enthusiast support. Expo attendees and exhibitors are being asked to sign letters to CPSC and send emails to members of Congress. Personal emails can be generated at the MIC booth in the Convention Center. It’s Booth 4705. Generating emails takes only a few minutes. Why not stop in and state your opinion?

The standards are part of the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that became law last August. The law limits the amount of lead in paint and total content of products produced primarily for children under the age of 12. The law applies to children’s ATVs, motorcycles, and related parts, accessories and apparel.

The prohibited products are considered hazardous materials and the fines for selling such products are stiff: up to $100,000 per infraction and up to $15 million for repeated violations.

In addition to gathering signatures on letters to CPSC, the MIC/SVIA also is using the Americans for Responsible Recreational Access (ARRA) at www.arra-access.com to generate constituent letters to members of Congress. Citizens also are encouraged to visit www.tomself.com, a Web site that helps users generate letters to relevant Congressional sub-committee members.

“My mantra is that kids don’t lick or eat ATV or motorcycle parts,” says Vitrano. “The truly ironic thing here is that this law has made these products unavailable out of concern for a lead risk that is not even real, and yet by making them unavailable, it possibly created a real risk for kids riding vehicles that are too large for them.”

Read more about this problem at dealernewsblog.wordpress.com.

– Joe Delmont

Tim Buche, president of the MIC, says that the powersports biz is a BIG part of the U.S. Economy. How Big?

  • There are 20 million motorcycles in use.
  • The industry has pumped $38 billion into the economy in 2007.
  • There are more than 13,000 powersports retail outlets.
  • There are 123,908 employees in those retail stores.
  • Those employees account for a $4.2 billion payroll.

  • -- Dennis Johnson