- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
The petition was received from the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor, Michigan and the Sierra Club et al., (petitioners) on May 29, 2009. The petition requests that EPA establish regulations prohibiting the manufacture, processing, and distribution in commerce of the weights. The EPA must either grant or deny the petition within 90 days of filing.
Comments must be received on or before July 30, 2009
In a Federal Register notice, the agency noted that the action may be of interest to those who manufacture, process, distribute or use lead wheel balancing weights, or are an automobile tire retailer. Since other entities may also be interested, the agency noted it has not attempted to describe all the specific entities that may be affected by this action.
The petition incorporates by reference a previous petition submitted by the Ecology Center on May 13, 2005, which requested a very similar action. The EPA denied that petition on Aug. 8, 2005.
The petitioners note that they have previously highlighted that automobiles are a significant contributor of ongoing lead releases to the environment. The previous petition identified lead wheel balancing weight failure (weights falling off rims into roadways) as one of the largest ongoing releases of lead to the environment. The previous petition also noted that lead is consistently found to be in high concentrations on roadways and in end-of-life, vehicle waste. The petitioners also commented that lead wheel balancing weights are the second largest ongoing use of lead in vehicles and play a significant role in the release of lead to the environment.
The petitioners also note that on August 29, 2008 EPA announced its voluntary National Lead-Free Wheel Weight Initiative (NLFWWI). The Initiative's 40 charter members and four subsequent members include every new car manufacturer, four domestic lead wheel balancing weight producers (3M, Hennessy, Perfect, and Plombco), two leading tire manufacturers (Bridgestone Firestone and Goodyear) and major retailers (Bridgestone Firestone, Goodyear, Costco, Wal-Mart, and Sam's Club). These organizations committed in writing to:
- Identify the volume of lead to be eliminated.
- Reduce the use of lead for wheel balancing weights by Dec. 31, 2011.
- Take responsibility for providing information, education, and outreach to the public, regarding the benefits of using lead-free wheel balancing weights.
- Properly collect and recycle used lead wheel balancing weights in their current inventory or acquired through normal business operation.
- Publicly endorse the NLFWWI and encourage the use of lead- free wheel balancing weights by others.