Hennessy Industries Inc., manufacturers of Bada wheel weights, praised Minnesota lawmakers for passing a bill that will ban lead and mercury wheel weights -- a measure aimed at protecting Minnesota’s groundwater from contamination.
The bill, SF2192/HF2542, is now awaiting Governor Mark Dayton's signature. If he signs the bill, it would make Minnesota the seventh state to pass such a ban.
Although Minnesota officials did not mandate the use of 100% environmentally safe alternatives to mercury and lead, such as steel wheel weights, company officials say the new momentum could push other states to consider such mandates.
“At this point, the automotive industry understands that lead wheel weights will be phased out altogether across the U.S. at some point,” says Kevin Keefe, vice president of marketing. “Minnesota lawmakers have resuscitated the movement toward alternative wheel weight materials, making it more likely for those states with existing legislation to finally mandate the use of wheel weights made from truly safe materials.”
BADA lead wheel weights have been manufactured for more than 50 years. However, the company has been transitioning to steel wheel weights largely because of the material’s environmentally friendly status. Keefe says steel wheel weights pose no threat to the environment.
"Other factors, such as steel’s high density, resistance to corrosion and cost-effectiveness also heavily influenced our decision.”
Other states and municipalities that have enacted bans on lead wheel weights have endorsed steel as their preferred alternative, but have stopped just short of mandating steel’s use. Both Maine and California, for example, have identified steel as their preference for a lead alternative without actually mandating its use.
As drafted, SF2192/HF2542 includes a ban on the installation, sale and distribution of mercury- and lead-based wheel weights, and lists Jan. 1, 2016, as the compliance date. The law will require all lead and mercury wheel weights removed from vehicles before the compliance date to be properly recycled and not allowed to enter the environment.
For more information on the bill, check out this link: "Minnesota lead wheel weight law goes to governor."