MIC Warns of New California Ban on Lead Wheel Weights


In a message to its members, the MIC warned of a new California law to reduce lead in wheel weights. Beginning Jan. 1, the law banned the manufacture, sale or installation of wheel weights that contain more than 0.1 percent lead on all vehicles, including motorcycles and ATVs.

If the tires are replaced prior to the sale of a new or used vehicle, the wheel weights have to be in compliance with the new law, the MIC reported. If lead wheel weights are removed from a tire for any reason, the old lead wheel weight cannot be placed back on the tire. The law also prohibits the sale of new vehicles manufactured on or after January 1, 2010, that are installed with lead wheel weights.

The MIC says it posed a number of questions to the California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC), which is overseeing the regulation, and many have been answered on the DTSC website.

The council said the DTSC acknowledged that an outreach program is needed to educate the motorcycle and ATV manufacturers, distributors and dealers. While the law does not provide for a grace period, the DTSC states that it will focus its early enforcement efforts to implement this law by providing outreach to the regulated community.

California is not the only government to ban lead wheel weights, the MIC said. Below is a list of measures taken to reduce lead in wheel weights, provided by the council.

  • The European Commission banned the use of lead wheel weights in 2005.
  • Japanese automobile manufacturers have switched to using zinc or steel wheel weights.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced its intention to pursue a ban on the manufacture and distribution of lead-containing wheel balancing weights and will soon begin a formal rulemaking.
  • Maine enacted a ban on lead and mercury wheel-weight installation, effective Jan. 1, 2010 (Senate Bill 369 [2009]).
  • The state of Washington recently enacted legislation stating that a person who replaces or balances wheels on or after January 1, 2011, must replace the weights with weights of alternative materials (House Bill 1033 [2009]).
  • In Vermont, tires on state vehicles may not have lead wheel weights as of Jan. 1, 2010, and any vehicle offered for sale in Vermont may not have lead wheel weights as of Sept. 1, 2011 (Senate Bill 152 [2008]).
  • Minnesota is voluntarily phasing out the use of lead wheel weights in some state vehicle fleets.

Posted by Arlo Redwine