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Lead Limit Exemption Sought for Children’s Ride-On Pedal Tractors

Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has received a petition requesting an exception from the 100 parts per million lead content limit for children’s products for die-cast ride-on pedal tractors scaled for children ages 3–10. Comments on this petition are due no later than Dec. 16.

Under section 101(a) of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, consumer products designed or intended primarily for children 12 years old and younger that contain lead content in excess of 100 ppm are considered to be banned hazardous substances under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. However, section 101(b)(1) allows the CPSC to exclude a specific product, class of product, material or component part from this limit if it determines that (i) the item/items require the inclusion of lead because it is not practicable or not technologically feasible to manufacture the item/items in accordance with section 101(a) by removing the excessive lead or making the lead inaccessible; (ii) the item/items are not likely to be placed in the mouth or ingested, taking into account normal and reasonably foreseeable use and abuse by a child; and (iii) an exception for the item/items will have no measurable adverse effect on public health or safety (i.e., will result in no measurable increase in blood lead levels of a child), taking into account normal and reasonably foreseeable use and abuse.

In this case, the petitioner states that the components of its pedal tractors are made of aluminum metal die castings, which are the best alloy of choice for pedal tractor production based on weight, cost, structural properties, surface finish and coatings, corrosion resistance, and bearing properties and wear resistance. The pedal tractor components are manufactured via the aluminum die-casting process. Although the petitioner states that it is able to meet the lead content requirements of 300 ppm for its pedal tractor components, it is unable to consistently meet the 100 ppm lead content limits due to alloys used in the aluminum die-cast process. Accordingly, the petitioner requests an exception from the 100 ppm lead content limit to continue to manufacture its pedal tractors with components up to the 300 ppm lead content limit.

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