Federal law bans ATVs for children

(Quincy, IL) - The federal law aimed at keeping kids safe from lead poisoning went into effect less than a week ago.

That law makes it illegal for anyone to sell children's toys, books, clothes and jewelry if the items contain any lead.

But it also includes some power sport vehicles that are part of many recreational activities.

KHQA's Jarod Wells talked to the owner of Outdoor Power in Quincy about this ban and how it may affect his business.

"It's kind of caught the power sports industry off guard," said Jeff Waterman, "because most of this was all geared around kid's toys, clothing and things like that."

But the lead ban includes much more than just children's toys and clothing. ATVs and dirt bikes designed for young children are also part of the law. Businesses selling such products have been told to stop selling them or risk fines.

"Basically after the 10th of February we can no longer sell them, right now anyway," said Waterman. "We don't really know that our products have a problem with the lead. We know that our paints are okay and things like that, but its more of what we call hard parts."

The "hard parts" Waterman is talking about are engine parts such as batteries and the aluminum in some brake components. Companies such as Polaris and KTM dirt bikes are currently testing parts to see if there is a problem with the lead.

"If the units are deemed to where we can't sell them, than they companies, just like Toys R Us or anything else, they'll take the product back and get us a product we can sell," said Waterman.

Waterman says if you were shopping around for one of these products the best thing to do is wait it out.

"We don't really recommend youth using adult products at all," said Waterman. "The unit wasn't designed to be operated by younger children. That wouldn't be a good course to take at all. The best thing is, if you were looking to purchase a youth ATV is just wait a little bit. I look for things to come around in the next month or so."

If these products pass the tests, Waterman is confident they will be able sell them again. But youth sales account for less than five percent of Outdoor Power's business. So if the products are not found to be safe, Waterman says it won't hit his business very hard.

Waterman said the specifications set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Council were very broad.

He said a lot of companies have questions about this ban and once those questions are answered he is confident this issue will be resolved.