January 27 2009.

The Specialty Vehicle Institute of America and the Motorcycle Industry Council, whose member companies manufacture or distribute youth model all-terrain vehicles and off-highway motorcycles, respectively, as well as parts and accessories for ATVs and motorcycles, today urgently requested the Consumer Product Safety Commission and federal legislators to take a common sense approach to implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act's lead provisions. SVIA and MIC also announced their intention to join several of their member companies in filing petitions with the CPSC for emergency relief from the provisions, which go into effect on February 10, 2009. They are seeking a temporary final rule to exempt ATV and motorcycle parts in order to avoid major disruptions to enthusiasts, to the member companies' businesses, and to the companies' dealer network of thousands of small, independent businesses which employ tens of thousands of Americans.

"SVIA and MIC applaud Congress for taking an important step in protecting children from those products that truly present a lead risk," said Paul Vitrano, executive vice president and general counsel, SVIA. "However, there should be common-sense procedures for exclusions of parts, such as brakes, engines and suspensions, that do not present risk to children in the real world."

The petitions for exclusion will request exemptions based on existing European Union studies and analogous exemptions for lead in components of motorized vehicles and motorcycles. "Some ATV and motorcycle parts unavoidably contain small quantities of lead," said Vitrano, who also is general counsel of MIC. "Lead in these components is necessary, either for safety, as in the case of facilitating the machining of tire valves, critical to assuring tire air retention, or for functionality, such as the lead in battery terminals, which is needed to conduct electricity." Vitrano said the new law provides for exclusions for inaccessible components and authorizes CPSC to grant petitions for exclusions under certain conditions, but CPSC has not granted any for ATVs and motorcycles.

The CPSC recently released several proposals to address exclusions it might adopt, but the public comment period for these proposals will end after the February 10 effective date for the new lead provisions. "By delaying release of these proposals, CPSC will provide no meaningful guidance to product manufacturers and distributors eager to comply with the law prior to the February 10 deadline. Congress included an exclusion process in the CPSIA expressly to allow relief for parts that are unlikely to harm children, such as those contained in an ATV or motorcycle," Vitrano said.

The delays in clarifying the available exclusions have created an untenable situation for the associations' member companies and their thousands of dealers, many of which are small businesses. On February 10 huge inventories of products that present no health risk to children could be rendered retroactively illegal, and future products prohibited from sale. These products may need to be destroyed which would result in severe hardship to the member companies of the associations and their dealers at a time of unprecedented economic disruption.

Vitrano said that SVIA and MIC are calling on all ATV and motorcycle enthusiasts, dealers and other stakeholders to contact the CPSC and their respective Members of Congress to urge them to enact these temporary exclusions because, in the absence of government action, there likely will not be any new youth motorcycles or ATVs available for purchase in their local dealerships as of February 10.