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Recreation Advocate

The OutdoorWire family websites feature news and information affecting outdoor recreation opportunities and access to public lands. 

Get the Lead Out

To look at this issue objectively, one needs to wind the calendar back over 30 years when the use of lead as an additive in gasoline was banned.  That was a traumatic experience.  And, yet, the technology stepped up to begin producing engines that did not need lead additive.  Some may spend hours in pointless arguments about power loss; but, lead is out of gasoline and the environment is better.

Or, wait, is the environment better?  If you were to listen to the advocates for recent legislation aimed at "getting the lead out" of virtually every product in the market because it "might" come in contact with children, you hear a different story.

As with two (polar opposite) views, somewhere there is a nugget of truth.  However, a simplistic internet search does not reveal much factual information.

Thirty years ago, it was "children are suffering from lead in paint and exhaust fumes".  Today it is "children are suffering because they might come in contact with an unspecified product that may contain lead."  And, the Consumer Products Safety Commission is proposing a cure.

Is this a problem requiring a solution?  Or, (more likely) this is a solution requiring a problem??

Below is an notice from the BlueRibbon Coalition that highlights the impact of the "lead" issue.


Subject: Lead Issues and Kids
Lead issues have surfaced to be a major drawback in our off-road sports, especially for kids. ATV's are being banned for kids. It's silly. It's not about the sport; it's about lead in tire valves and batter connections. It's a goof in the law. We need letters. Please visit the BlueRibbon website and write a letter to help us bring common sense back to law making. Visit:


I am all for having clean air to breath and providing for a healthy environment.  Perhaps, there is a point of no return where the costs of a presumed cure significantly exceed the cost of no action.  If there is a risk, there is a reasonable, rational and cost effective solution.  With this issue, there is no demonstrated risk, no reasonable or rational solution, and no cost effective solution.

Cut through the rhetoric and hype...  "Just the facts, mam."



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