As expected, the staff of the CPSC told the commission Wednesday not to exempt powersports vehicles from the new lead limits. The two commissioners, who will vote sometime in the next few days, usually follow their staff’s advice.
So barring some irregularity, the commission will soon put to rest any chance of lifting the ban. If that becomes the case, only an act of Congress will do (click here to read about three bills already introduced).
On March 20, the CPSC staff made waves when it used many of the powersports industry’s arguments in telling Congress to exempt the vehicles through legislation. The staff made clear then that an exemption under the current law was unlikely.
The major ATV manufacturers, the MIC and the SVIA requested the exemption. Regulations required that they submit a scientific study supporting the request.
In its recommendation Wednesday, the agency staff turned theoretical, saying that if it had judged the submitted study before the new law, it would not have told the commission to ban the vehicles based on lead exposure. But, it said, the new law requires companies requesting exemptions to show that not “any” lead could be absorbed. And even the industry’s study admits some harmless absorption.
The staff concluded with a comment similar to the one it had made to Congress: “A bigger safety concern than lead exposure is that the elimination of youth ATV sales will most likely increase the number of adult ATVs purchased to be used by younger children; therefore increasing their risk of injury and death.”