Lead toy ban could affect bikes, ATVs

Congressional Act kicks in Feb. 10

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Feb. 03, 2009
An act of Congress against lead-tainted toys would ban certain youth motorcycles and ATVs.

On Aug. 14, 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) was enacted by U.S. Congress primarily due to the public outcry over lead-tainted toys. Reacting to the call for more stringent government standards relating to children’s products, the impending Act would require companies to meet the standards of third party testing to ensure that products intended for use by those under the age of 12 are safe.

Unfortunately, this could affect companies that manufacture or distribute youth model ATVs and off-highway motorcycles, as well as parts and accessories for those vehicles.

The ban includes any product with traces of lead greater than 600 ppm (parts per million) intended for use by a child under the age of 12. Certain alloy materials used in the construction of these motorcycles may inherently contain levels of lead that are higher than the amount specified as safe by the Act. Members of the Motorcycle Industry Council and Specialty Vehicle Institute of America are actively working to have this amended as it would be unlikely that a transfer would occur during use of these products.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act would ban the sale of youth-oriented bikes such as the Honda CRF80F.Failure of a testing procedure will mean that those products are considered a “Banned hazardous substance,” whereby selling of that product will result in civil and criminal penalties.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the agency chosen to enforce the Act, recently ruled that the ban be retroactive. This would mean that regardless of the date of manufacture or whether it met with applicable laws and regulations at the time, these products will no longer be legal to sell some after Feb. 10.

Without action from Congress or the CPSC, Honda, for instance, will not be able to sell new or used models of the TRX90, CRF50F, CRF70F or CRF80F. Not only that, but according to terms stated in the act, these models will no longer even be allowed on display in dealer showrooms or even on company websites.