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BPSA Petition on Lead Rule Postponed

Published February 13, 2009

BETHESDA, MD (BRAIN)—The Consumer Product Safety Commission tabled a petition last week that would have given the bicycle industry temporary relief from a strict new rule that limits the amount of lead in children’s bikes.

The Commission’s general counsel said in a letter dated Feb. 9 the Commission doesn’t have the authority to grant the request, which was submitted by the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association under the premise that the lead in children’s bikes falls below the European standard.

The Commission will consider the request not as a petition, but rather as part of the ongoing rulemaking process in which exclusions and exceptions to the lead limit will be proposed.

“It’s not a bad thing,” said Bob Burns, head of the BPSA’s legislative committee and Trek’s legal counsel. “It’s just a federal bureaucracy and they’re going to follow procedures. We’ve been told they’re doing everything they can to do those procedures as soon as possible.”

The general counsel made similar decisions on a number of other requests for relief from other industry associations including those for jewelry, motor sports and writing instruments.

The new lead rule is dictated by the Consumer Product Safety Information Act and bans the sale of children’s products that exceed a lead content of 600 parts per million. Some common bike parts, like valve stems and spoke nipples, exceed the new lead limit, which could potentially make children’s bikes illegal.

The lead rule went into effect on Feb. 10. According to the CPSC’s temporary lead enforcement policy, the Commission will accept a manufacturer’s determination that a lead-containing product is inaccessible to a child and not subject to the lead limits, if it is consistent with the Commission’s proposed guidance or is based on a reasonable reading of the inaccessibility requirement.

—Nicole Formosa

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