Businesses say lead toy ban goes too far

April 1, 2009 5:41:10 PM PDT
Owner of Berkeley Honda Yamaha Scott Dunlavey has to keep all of his small motorcycles or all-terrain vehicles in his warehouse. He is not allowed to display, let alone sell, any motorcycles or ATVs manufactured for children 12-years-old and under. In February, a law went into effect banning products sold to children that contain lead. The alloy casing in the small bikes and ATV's fall under the ban.

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"It started with the Chinese toys, it's the fear of people ingesting them and I'm not quite sure how you ingest a motorcycle or an ATV but that's where it came from," Dunlavey said.

The law also forbids him from having them on display in the showroom for customers to see.

"I can't advertise them, I can't even have brochures for them since February 10," Dunlavey said.

That is when the law went into effect, banning lead in all kid products, jewelry, books and clothing, among others.

"If kids are touching that part and then, like kids do, they put their hand in their mouth or they eat food and the food goes into their mouth, when lead comes onto the child's hands hand to mouth contact is how kids get exposed to lead," Charles Margulis of the Center for Environmental Health said.

Industry representatives went to Capitol Hill Wednesday to argue the ban has gone too far. And late Wednesday, the consumer product safety commission denied their request to exempt ATVs and motorcycles intended for children.

But two congressional bills are still on the table asking that ATVs and motorcycles for children be excluded.

Dunlavey and others must comply or face an $1,800 fine. In August the fine goes up to $100,000.

Dunlavey says the ban is hurting him because these products represent between 8 and 10 percent of his business.

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