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Washington endorses steel wheel weights

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The state of Washington’s Department of Ecology recently endorsed steel wheel weights over other lead alternatives.

"Steel is, without a doubt, the best choice for the environment,” says Hennessy’s Vice President of Marketing Kevin Keefe. “Hennessy commends the state of Washington for going a step beyond banning lead by promoting steel as the best alternative. We hope to see other states follow the example set by Washington’s Department of Ecology.”

Health and environmental concerns about lead have motivated Washington and four other states – California, Maine, Minnesota and Vermont – to pass legislation banning lead wheel weights. Maryland and Wisconsin have also proposed similar legislation.

“Washington state is banning the use of lead wheel weights for most vehicles in 2011 because of the toxic hazard they pose for people, the environment and aquatic life,” saysCarol Kraege with the Washington Department of Ecology. “Lead wheel weights must be replaced with ‘environmentally preferred’ weights, and Ecology recommends coated steel wheel weights as replacements.”

With the Department of Ecology’s endorsement of steel as the best alternative, Washington joins Maine as the second state to put its official support behind steel. The state of Maine has declared it will not promote the use of zinc wheel weights, another alternative to lead, due to concerns about toxicity to wildlife.

Zinc is considered to be a secondary water contaminant. As a result, many businesses and some states are transitioning from lead to steel exclusively, Hennessy reports.

Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency accepted a petition from a dozen environmental and public health organizations to immediately begin rulemaking to ban lead wheel weights nationwide.

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