MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (May 13, 2014) — A Minnesota law that bans the installation, sale and distribution of lead- and mercury-based wheel balance weights has passed a final vote in the state’s house and senate and awaits the signature of Gov. Mark Dayton.
The bills were presented last week for their final reading during session and were passed with minimal final changes to the language, according to a press release from Wegmann Automotive USA Inc., maker of Perfect Equipment-brand wheel weights. With the law’s anticipated enactment, Minnesota will most likely become the seventh state to pass a law banning lead wheel balance weights—the others include California, Maine, New York, Vermont, Washington and Illinois, which was the last state to enact a ban in 2012.
The Minnesota bills — Senate Bill 2192 and House Bill 2542 — were first introduced in early March and also include regulations on mercury thermometers.
With Minnesota included, the states regulating lead wheel weights will combine to make up roughly 26 percent of all registered vehicles in the U.S., Wegmann said. Minnesota already has a state mandate in effect for state-owned fleet vehicles to use only non-lead wheel balance weights.
Gregory Parker, marketing manager for Perfect Equipment-brand wheel weights, said, “It is important for the Minnesota market to understand that there are non-lead options like zinc and steel available to them now.
“Sometimes new regulations can cause panic and confusion in the market as businesses scramble to make the change, but the key to a successful transition is to test all the available options, speak to various suppliers to understand their differences and then make a decision that is right for your company.”
The Minnesota law has a Jan. 1, 2016, compliance date, which, according to Wegmann, “will allow businesses the chance to deplete their current lead inventories, test the alternatives and train staff on how to use the new non-lead products.
“Unlike some of the previous laws in effect, the new Minnesota law will also require that all lead and mercury wheel weights that are removed from vehicles be properly recycled and not allowed to enter the environment.”
Mr. Parker noted that “most of the major wheel weight suppliers feature a recycle return program that allows you to return your unsorted used weights. All modern wheel weight materials are recyclable and being able to return the weights unsorted makes it easy for the customer.
“Properly recycling your used inventories, regardless of their material type, is the right thing to do for the environment.”