According to the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) the new lead rules affecting many youth motorcycles and ATVs could lead to $1 billion in lost economic value annual for the industry.

The projected loss is based on 2008-estimated value of the retail marketplace for ATVs and off-highway motorcycles and factors out vehicles and related economic value not included as part of the ban.

Included in the retail marketplace are retail sales of new and used vehicles, parts and accessories, dealer servicing, product advertising, vehicle financing charges, insurance premiums, dealer personnel salaries, taxes, and vehicle registration fees.

Powersports companies have stopped selling affected youth products with lead content in excess of the limits identified in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act that went into force February 10.

“The potential losses for the powersports industry are massive at a time when this country cannot afford additional economic losses,” says Paul Vitrano, general counsel for MIC and Special Vehicle Industry of America (SVIA). “With these vehicles sitting in warehouses instead of on showroom floors, the related sales of most protective gear, accessories, and parts and services are virtually non-existent. Thousands of small businesses across America are impacted by this ban.”

The powersports community has sent more than 100,000 letters to U.S. Congress asking for powersports vehicles, parts and accessories to be excluded from the ban. The MIC, along with the American Motorcyclist Association and other groups have spearheaded the massive letter-writing campaign.

Those calling for the exclusions believe that the lead-content provisions of the act, which originally were aimed at toys that can be mouthed by children, were never intended to apply to youth ATVs and motorcycles. Most of the components making up youth powersports products are in compliance. But some parts, that young people are highly unlikely to ingest, contain small quantities of lead in excess of the limits, such as the valve stems on the tires, aluminum in some brake components, and the terminals on the batteries.

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