US House hearing to re-examine lead ban

CPSEA to modify CPSIA

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Apr. 28, 2010
The U.S. House is mulling a new act that could address the ban on youth-model motorcycles and ATVs.

The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection will hold a hearing April 29 to discuss the Consumer Product Safety Enhancement Act (CPSEA) which is intended to resolve some of the concerns about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act including the ban on youth-model vehicles that contain traces of lead.

The new legislation would give the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) the power to exempt certain products from the CPSIA. The CPSEA would also exclude thrift stores and other retailers selling used children’s products that may contain lead, as well as allow alternative testing requirements for small batch manufacturers.

Paul Vitrano, general counsel for the Motorcycle Industry Council, is among the witnesses being called to testify at the hearing.

The American Motorcycle Association supports the idea of updating the CPSIA but Ed Moreland, AMA vice-president for government relations, says the bill fails to define certain key concepts.

“There are important phrases in the new bill that must be clearly defined for this legislation to be objective,” says Moreland. “Otherwise, the bill is left open to interpretation and, potentially, litigation. Indeed, at least one lawsuit has already been filed with respect to one of these key concepts.”

The legislation allows the CPSC exempt items if it is “not practicable or not technologically feasible to manufacturer such product, component part, or material … by removing the excessive lead or by making the lead inaccessible,” or if the lead in the item “will have no measurable adverse effect on public health or safety, taking into account normal and foreseeable use and abuse.”

The AMA says the phrases “not practicable” and “no measurable adverse effect” to be too poorly defined.

“Because the CPSEA is meant to cast a broad net over children’s products covered by the original CPSIA, sweeping language and undefined phrases do not remedy the specific needs of the youth-model off-road motorcycle and ATV community,” says Moreland. “AMA members and other motorcyclists need to contact their representatives and let them know that while we’re on the right track for finding a solution; that this particular bill does not quite get us there.”

Instead, Moreland advocates a different bill, H.R. 1587, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.). Currently also in the hands for the House Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce, H.R. 1587 would amend the CPSIA to specifically exclude off-highway vehicles.

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