California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday signed into law state legislation banning the sale and installation of lead-based auto wheel weights. Wheel weights routinely fall off cars and trucks, releasing 500,000 pounds of lead into the environment in California annually, and as a result they are a major source of lead pollution in state drinking water.
The bill, SB 757, was co-sponsored by CEH, and followed the non-profit’s landmark 2008 legal agreement which barred Chrysler and the three leading makers of auto wheel weights from selling leaded weights in California. However, concerns that international wheel weight makers could bring cheap lead-based weights into the state prompted CEH to work with State Senator Fran Pavley on the comprehensive ban.
“We are proud of our work to help protect the drinking water for California’s children and residents,” said CEH Executive Director Michael Green. Leaded wheel weights are already banned throughout Europe and in much of Asia, where readily available safer alternatives are used. “We hope Congress will take note and end lead threats from wheel weights nationwide,” Green noted.
Washington and Maine have previously enacted similar state bans, but before the CEH legal settlement California had no regulations on leaded wheel weights. Earlier this year, CEH and other groups petitioned EPA under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), calling for a federal ban on leaded wheel weights.