CPSC Says ATVs Can Be Sold to 12-to15 Year OldsFeb 17, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is bending to industry pressure by allowing All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) which are designated for children age 12 to 15 to be excluded from new lead content regulations. The CPSC decision means these ATVs will not be considered children’s products.
According to Off Road, the CPSC “heard the concerns of the motorcycle and ATV industries and riders and is responding by taking action to meet their needs.” In response, said Off Road, the CPSC deemed that ATVs for children in this category—formerly the Y12 category—are not prohibited under new lead laws.
“It’s time for everyone to be aware that those models for youths 12 to 15 are not deemed to be children’s products under the law,” said Scott Wolfson, a CPSC spokesman. “Those that are the old Y12 or any newer version of a model [for 12- to 15-year-olds] do not have to come off showroom floors and can be sold appropriately to young riders,” Wolfson told Off Road.
Last year, Congress passed the first overhaul to consumer protection laws in about 20 years, mostly over the glut of recalled Chinese-made, lead-tainted toys. The Act—the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)—strengthens and expands the existing lead standard for children’s products and toys and the CPSC is charged with ensuring appropriate implementation, which limits lead amounts in paint and materials contained in items designed for children age 12 and younger.
Next year, such manufacturers will be required to obtain independent testing to ensure products are lead-free. Now, in the days before and since the Act has taken effect on February 10, manufacturers and retailers have been looking for ways to skirt the mandates.
Many experts agree that lead in any amount is dangerous to children, fetuses, and adults and many consider lead poisoning to be one of the most important chronic environmental illnesses affecting children today. Despite efforts to control lead, serious cases still occur.
In children and fetuses, lead exposure can cause brain and nervous system damage, behavioral and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, headaches, mental and physical retardation, and behavioral and other health problems. Lead is also known to cause cancer and reproductive harm and, in adults, lead can damage the nervous system. Once poisoned by lead, no organ system is immune. Unfortunately, lead poisoning is difficult to recognize because it manifests with subtle symptoms and there are no definitive indicators that point to contamination.
Wolfson said dealers should “keep in touch with CPSC. We have heard the voices of those throughout the industry and those who are riders. We’re working as hard as we can as an agency. We have a vast child safety law we are continuing to interpret,” quoted Off Road. “We’re dealing with more than ATVs—we’re dealing with every single product for children under 12,” Wolfson added, saying, “We need a little bit more time to process the petitions and make assessments…. The industry needs to settle down and give the agency the appropriate amount of time to review the petition and make sound decisions that will benefit everyone in the marketplace,” quoted Off Road.