ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland legislature has passed a bill banning lead and mercury wheel weights, making it the eighth state to do so.
The bill passed in April makes it illegal to use external wheel weights containing more than 0.1 percent of lead or mercury by weight beginning in 2020. By that year, state vehicles must be free of lead or mercury weights, and such weights must be removed for proper recycling starting in 2018, the bill states.
The Tire Industry Association (TIA) testified against the bill in hearings leading up to its passage.
"We just didn't think more regulation was needed," said Roy Littlefield IV, TIA director of government affairs.
Most states are phasing out lead wheel weights voluntarily, and many dealers have stocked up on lead weights in anticipation of their future unavailability, according to Mr. Littlefield.
"Fortunately, the effective date of the legislation will allow dealers to use up their lead weights," he said.
The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) praised the passage of the Maryland bill.
The legislation is in line with the revised resolution issued by ECOS, calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to initiate regulatory action on lead wheel weights.
According to the resolution, some 2,000 metric tons of lead wheel weights fall into U.S. roads annually. The economic value of preventing lead exposure in children is an estimated $213 billion per year, based on estimates of the effect of lead exposure on children's IQs, the resolution said.
California, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington State all preceded Maryland in banning lead wheel weights, according to ECOs.