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Feds want lead wheel weights to disappear

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The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to eliminate the use of lead wheel weights. So does the Environmental Council of States, or ECOS.

In support of the EPA's request for the voluntary removal from from commerce as soon as possible, ECOS has approved a resolution that not only acknowledges the EPA's research on lead toxicity and dangers, but also encourages actions such as the following:

* that federal agencies phase out their use of lead wheel weights;

* that the EPA publish or propose regulation without delay under the Toxic Substances Control Act to permanently stop the sale, installation, and use of lead wheel weights in the U.S. by 2013;

* that the sale and installation of lead wheel weights be prohibited in the U.S. by 2013.

While the Washington State Department of Ecology, a driving force behind the ECOS resolution, cannot endorse particular products, the agency has found that more non-lead products are available than ever before. Still, many states are banning lead weights, and a growing number of automotive original equipment manufacturers are using non-lead products.

Will a federal ban be necessary? Time will tell.

Washington State's Ecology Department Director Ted Sturdevant introduced the lead wheel weight resolution at the ECOS meeting in April. Washington's lead wheel weight ban went into statewide effect on Jan. 1, 2011.

3M Co. also supports the resolution. To learn more about how to comply with the growing legislation against lead-free wheel weights, visit www.3M.com/leadfree.

ECOS is a national non-profit, non-partisan association of state and territorial environmental agency leaders.

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