My Guess: CPSC Will OK Sale of Kid’s ATVs


Dropping Kid’s Quads Doesn’t Help Anybody.

Agency Wants To Provide Relief

After closely following the growing industry frenzy over the possibility that we won’t be able to sell kid’s ATVs  after Tuesday, I’ve come to one inescapable conclusion:

The CPSC is not going to prevent the sale of kid’s ATVs next week.

There’s a whole fistful of reasons why the big agency isn’t going to shut down sales of ATVs to kids. And there are enough loopholes and exceptions in this poorly written law for the commissioners to wriggle through, if they wish to do so.

But here’s the bottom line:  It’s more dangerous for kids to ride adult size machines than to ride smaller machines containing lead that could hurt them if they eat the stuff. Like chewing on a battery terminal or a steel frame or a valve stem.

Which is more likely: A kid chomping on a battery cable, or a small child rolling an adult size ATV? Isn’t that a no-brainer?

So, even though the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) can’t change the Feb. 10, 2009, deadline— only Congress can do that— I’m betting that you see the commissioners take action that avoids halting sales next Tuesday. You might see that action as soon as tomorrow.

Last evening, a CPSC spokesman avoided making a flat out statement that sales of kid’s quads would be permitted next week, but he came pretty close. 

“The availability of youth model ATVs is critically important to CPSC,” Scott Wolfson told me. “We are an agency that has investigated numerous deaths of young riders who jumped on adult size ATVs.  We want to protect against these tragedies by having appropriately sized youth models that are available for parents to purchase for their children.”

Noting that the commission can’t change the Feb. 10 deadline, Wolfson said the agency “is looking at other relief that it can provide.”

MIC’s Paul Vitrano has an easy answer for them: “Granting the petitions for temporary exclusions filed by the MIC, the SVIA and the OEMs is relief that CPSC can provide.  In the petitions, the powersports industry demonstrated, through scientific analysis as required by the CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act), that lead-containing components, parts and accessories of youth ATVs and motorcycles pose no risk to children.”

The CPSIA  became law last August. The law prohibits the sale of products made for children under the age of 12 that contain excessive amounts of lead, as identified in the law, after Feb. 10, 2009.

There are two provisions in the law, one covering lead paint and the second covering lead content in the total product. The content provision is especially difficult because it applies to items such as steel frames, valve stems, batteries and cables, etc.

The CPSC is considering a request by the MIC (Motorcycle Industry Council) and a host of other manufacturers and retail groups for the CPSC to put a 185-day hold on the deadline for implementation of the rule limiting lead content in accessible parts and components of the children’s products covered by the law.

A 185-day breathing period would allow dealers and OEMs to clear out used, non-current units and units that can’t be certified and other related inventory during the upcoming major selling season. At the same time, they can get the current stuff certified.

Finger Pointing Begins

The finger pointing about who is responsible for the current mess has begun in the Citadel on the Potomac. Why am I not surprised?

The Associated Press reported that Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., is blaming Nancy Nord, CPSC chief, for creating confusion and panic about the real target of the law.

Pryor told the AP: “They’ve had five to six months to get this together and give the industry some direction. I don’t know what they’ve been doing.” Pryor is a sponsor of the CPSIA bill. “They didn’t like it when we passed it. They never helped us, and they’re not helping now.”

Not true, says CPSC spokesman Wolfson. “Agency staff were responsive to questions posed by Congress as the law was being drafted,” he told me.

Pryor and other politicians have called on President Obama to dump Nord as acting chairwoman of the CPSC, says the AP. Nord, a Bush administration appointee, pumped out a statement blaming Congress for passing a law “without the funding requested by the Commission and with little time to address the complex issues presented by the new law,” reports the AP.

In a Jan. 30 letter to Pryor and others, Nord lists a series of problems with the CPSIA and writes, “The CPSC … is committed to implementing the Act in a fair and efficient manner. However, we are finding that there are problems and issues that were not discussed, and, presumably, not contemplated, by the Congress. The Act gives the agency neither the flexibility nor the resources it needs to deal with many of the problems referenced in this letter. Consequently, addressing these issues should be a priority of the 111th Congress…”

There’s an interesting story about how the ATV provision came to be included in the CPSIA, a law that was originally designed to protect young children from swallowing small pieces of jewelry and other toys containing high amounts of lead. More about that story in this space on another day. JD

Contact me with news tips and story ideas
at 952/893-6876 or

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2 Responses to “My Guess: CPSC Will OK Sale of Kid’s ATVs”

  1. Mark Koolers Says:

    The CPSIA became law last August. The law prohibits the sale of products made for children under the age of 12 that contain excessive amounts of lead, as identified in the law, after Feb. 10, 2009.


  2. Mike Sullivan Says:

    I can honestly say the writing is on the wall for our free nation. I guess freedom of choice is being stripped one rediculous law at a time. I am a avid MX rider and my family of 4 is as well children started riding at the age of 4 now 12 and 10 and never have they tried to ingest one thing on their bikes or atv’s, only the MUD thrown up at them from a lot of FUN let me phrase again “FUN” mud riddin and quality family time on the trails sittin at the camp fire or talkin about the AWESOME time they had on the ride home in the motorhome. I hope someone absolutely Chokes the life out of this one forever and removes these irresponsible senators from our government for not thoroughly evaluating a bill without a hidden agenda at put some commos sense to it. Enough is enough.

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