OLYMPIA, Wash. (April 21, 2009) — The Washington state legislature has approved a bill that will make lead wheel weights illegal in the state by Jan. 1, 2011.
After that date, people who use lead weights and don't comply within one year of a warning from the Washington Department of Ecology will face fines of up to $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses.
The department is charged with issuing a list of “environmentally preferred” wheel weights by Oct. 1, 2010. Tire dealers and others who service tires in Washington will be allowed to use any alternative to lead until Jan. 1, 2013, when they must use weights on the environmentally preferred list.
The bill passed the Washington Senate by a 29-18 vote April 13 and the House by a 67-30 vote April 16. It now goes to Gov. Christine Gregoire for signing.
Previously, the Northwest Tire Dealers Association opposed bills to ban lead wheel weights, according to Executive Director Dick Nordness. But now, with viable alternatives to lead widely available and with so many of its members, including Les Schwab Tire Centers Inc., already having switched to non-lead weights, the NTDA decided to support the bill, Mr. Nordness said.