CPSIA Bans Kids’ Motor SportsWritten by: Alison Print This Article
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Among the many repercussions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) is the banning of lead components inside of products that aren’t likely to have any health effect on children, at least not from the lead. Among them are motor sports products for kids, including ATVs and kid-sized dirt bikes and motorcycles. These products use lead in the engines, batteries, and other internal components. Therefore, they are now banned products that cannot be sold in the United States as of February 10, 2009.
The Motorcycle Industry Council estimates that the CPSIA ban on these products will cause economic losses of $1 billion in 2009 alone. The ban affects products that have lead contents above 600ppm, but that is a moving target with the goal heading down towards 100ppm limits over time. Many motorsports dealers now have substantial inventories of products intended for children they can no longer sell legally.
Larry’s Motor Sports in Jefferson City, Missouri, has $118,000 of small motorcycles and ATVs sitting on its lot. The owner, Larry Neill, is concerned that not only does the ban affect his current business and devalue his inventory, but it will hamper future business because many of his customers started their interest in motorsports as children.
Jim Hawkins, general manager of Escondido Cycle Center in San Diego County, California, reports that he’s had to take about 90 bikes off the sales floor because of the law. The area has a significant interest in motorsports as the local deserts have been traditional places for parents and kids to run their ATVs, dirt bikes, and dune buggies on the sand dunes.
The components in motorsport products containing excessive lead levels include lead-acid batteries, battery terminals, engine housings, some electronics, and brake components. These are internal components, and kids who can use these products are old enough to know that they shouldn’t be eating their dirt bikes. Yet the wording of the CPSIA law takes an extreme interpretation banning lead even in children’s product in which there is no reasonable likelihood that children would come into contact with the lead in such a fashion that it would have a material affect on their health.
What child would intentionally or otherwise eat a dirt bike or ATV? Further, these sports are intrinsically dirty. It doesn’t seem reasonably likely that a kid is going to be using such products and fail to clean up, at least washing hands, before eating a meal or going to bed for the night.
Further, the ban also blocks selling parts and repair services for the pint-sized vehicles. So even if you already have ATVs or motorcycles for your kids, you may not be able to keep them running past the next time something breaks down or wears out.
The motorsports industry joins book stores, libraries, children’s toys, children’s clothing, and second-hand stores among the many businesses and organizations adversely affected by CPSIA. The Motorcycle Industry Council is attempting to organize opposition to the law to get an exemption for its products, but it is questionable it will succeed without action by the US Congress.