Lead Paint

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule addresses the hazards created by activities that disturb lead-based paint in “target housing” (where children under 6 and pregnant women live) and child-occupied facilities built before 1978.

RRP regulation requires that individual and company renovators be trained and certified under the rule. Certified renovators must then use lead-safe work practices during renovation, repair and painting activities that disturb lead-based paint in all homes built before 1978, even those without children present, unless a determination can be made that no lead-based paint would be disturbed during the renovation or repair.

When the rule was published in 2008, it included provisions to minimize the regulatory burden of the program that were subsequently eliminated by later amendment or failed to achieve their promised goal in implementation.

The rule also included reference to a low-cost lead paint test kit – a tool that has yet to be created.

It added costs to all remodeling, and because the rule only applies to professional remodelers and other contractors, it created an incentive for owners to hire non-certified “fly-by-night” remodelers or do the work themselves – potentially putting their families at risk.

Why It Matters

The RRP is an inefficient tool for achieving the environmental and health goals of the underlying statute and rule.

The regulation is needlessly burdensome and thus discourages more certified remodelers from recertifying and participating in the program. In turn, this makes it harder to serve households that need RRP projects.

Prior to finalizing the latest revision, EPA reported an estimated 550,000 certified renovators nationally. That number has now dropped to approximately 325,000 certified renovators.

For those property owners able to find certified renovators, the high cost of implementing the program often cause compliant contractors to lose out on work to uncertified entities.

The penalties for noncompliance are steep, up to $37,500 per violation per day.  Many EPA inspections happen not at the worksite, but in paperwork audits. Thus, significant penalties are often levied for minor paperwork errors.

Solutions

  • Ensure EPA completes a robust review of the program through Section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, which is due in Spring 2017.
  • Mandate EPA respond to the congressional call to act on issues surrounding the lack of a qualifying lead-based paint test kit.
  • Grant NAHB petition for reconsideration now pending before the agency. EPA’s regulation amending the renovator refresher training requirements created a training structure that penalizes those who recertify with online training.
  • Prohibit EPA from issuing new or expanded regulations covering public and commercial buildings until it has issued a sound hazard determination, a vigorous economic analysis, and shown these activities are not duplicating existing requirements.

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