Tag Archives: Environmental Protection Agency

EPA Underestimates Costs and Overestimates Benefit of Lead Rule

From our friends at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), some recent news about the ongoing battle for legislation to restore the homeowners’ right to opt out of costly lead based paint removal protocols:

Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Inspector General reported on the findings of an investigation into the agency’s economic analysis of the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) rule. Not surprisingly, that report determined that the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) underestimated the rule’s cost and overestimated its benefits.

Moreover, the EPA Inspector General found that the training manual and subsequent “certified renovator” training failed to clearly delineate which lead-safe work practices are mandated and which are simply recommendations.

For more information about what the NAHB is doing to improve the effectiveness and reduce the cost of this rule, check out this recent article on Housing Zone by Professional Remodeler.

LEAD legislation needs your support!

Our friends at NAHB Remodelers, our national affiliate, have provided a simple and convenient way to show your support for  the newly proposed S. 2148, the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012

On March 1, 2012 Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) introduced S. 2148, the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012.  This piece of legislation improves the Lead: Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule (RRP) which has hampered the home building industry with burdensome compliance costs. 

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the RRP rule establishing new requirements for contractors and remodelers working in homes built before 1978.  The rule prescribes a series of work practices and contractor certification requirements as a way to address impacts associated with the disturbance of lead-painted surfaces in older housing.  Specifically designed to address potential lead exposures to children under six years of age and pregnant women, the RRP rule requires contractors and remodelers working in older homes to obtain certification from the EPA. 

This legislation will restore the “Opt-Out Provision” from the RRP rule which allowed homeowners without children under six or pregnant women residing in the home to allow their contractor to forego the use of lead-safe work practices.  By restoring the “opt-out provision”, it will eliminate unnecessary regulations and compliance costs estimated at $508 million a year.

Read more here.

Urge your Senators to support this legislation here.

NAHB Endorsed Legislation Introduced to Reduce Lead Regulatory Burden

This just in from the National Association of Home Builders in Washington D.C.:

Responding to concerns from NAHB Remodelers and affiliated trade groups, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) on March 1 introduced S. 2148, the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012,  to improve the lead paint rule for remodelers who must comply with the costly work practices and record keeping requirements of the rule.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s  Lead: Renovation, Repair, and Painting (LRRP) rule, which took effect on April 22, 2010, requires that remodelers and contractors working in homes built before 1978 be trained and certified by the EPA on lead-safe work practices before they can legally work in those homes.

The bill was introduced with five original co-sponsors: Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), David Vitter (R-La.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.).

NAHB is urging its members to contact their senators and call on them to co-sponsor the Inhofe bill. The association is also seeking the introduction of companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012 would:

  • Reinstate the opt-out provision to allow home owners without small children or pregnant women residing in them to decide whether to require LRRP compliance, not the government.
  • Suspend the LRRP if EPA does not approve a commercially available test kit that meets the regulation’s requirements.
  • Allow remodelers the “right to cure” paperwork errors found during an inspection.
  • Eliminate the “hands on” recertification training requirements.
  • Prohibit EPA from expanding the LRRP to commercial and public buildings until at least one year after the agency conducts a study demonstrating the need for such an action.
  • Clarify the definition of “abatement” to specifically exclude remodeling and renovation activities.
  • Provide an exemption to the regulation for emergency renovations

Read the full story here.

EPA RRP Enforcement Wake Up Call

On May 26th, the Professional Remodelers Organization welcomed nearly double the number of remodelers than normal for our 7:30am Remodelers’ Round Table discussion.  What topic would bring out so many people for what is generally billed as an informal gathering of professionals for open format discussion on topics ranging from contracts or insurance to finding good employees?

One word… Lead.

The PRO arranged for an OSHA inspector to participate and help demystify some of the angst and confusion surrounding lead based paint rules in Oregon.

There were a lot of questions and hopefully some good answers, but it seems like this recent blog post by Jonathan Sweet from HousingZone.com sheds a little light on why there is so much momentum around this subject right now…

All the remodelers out there who thought that the EPA RRP lead paint rules weren’t going to be enforced may want to think again. 

The EPA announced in May it would be pursuing action against a Rockland, Maine, remodeler for alleged violation of the RRP rules. The EPA has said that Colin Wentworth is facing fines of at least $150,000 for multiple violations.

It’s the first punitive action the EPA has taken for violation of the new rules, although the agency has cited several companies for failing to provide the “Renovate Right” pamphlet to owners of pre-1978 homes. That has been required of remodelers for years, but many have ignored it.

The relatively lax enforcement of that rule has probably been what led many remodelers to think this would be no big deal.

Read the rest of the article to see what has changed… and keep an eye out in late July for our next Remodelers’ Round Table.

National News: Remodelers Required to Hand Out EPA Lead Paint Pamphlet

With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‘s Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting rule governing the work of professional remodelers in homes where there is lead-based paint set to become fully effective a year from now, remodelers are now required to hand out the new EPA pamphlet, “Renovate Right,” to potential clients who own homes built before 1978 so that they are aware of the new lead paint regulations.

The brochure is available free on the EPA’s Web site by clicking here, or by calling 800-424-LEAD (5323).

The rule, which will take effect on April 22, 2010, addresses remodeling and renovation projects disturbing more than six square feet of potentially contaminated painted surfaces for all residential and multifamily structures built prior to 1978 that are inhabited or frequented by pregnant women and children under the age of six.

What Remodelers Can Expect

When the rule takes effect, firms working in pre-1978 homes will need to be certified by the EPA and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. The fee for a firm’s certification is $300.

  • Training and Certification Will Be Required: Along with the firm certification, the rule specifies that, for work done in pre-1978 homes, an employee will also need to be certified as a certified renovator and be responsible for training other employees and oversee work practices and cleaning on the job.  The training, which is currently being developed by the EPA, will be conducted during an eight-hour class and include two hours of hands-on training.  The certification of a firm and a certified renovator will be valid for five years. A certified renovator will be required to take a four-hour refresher course to be recertified under the rule.
  • Specific Work Practices Will Have to Be Followed:  The rule establishes required lead-safe work practices, including: posting warning signs for occupants and visitors by the certified renovator; establishing a containment area; using disposable plastic drop cloths; and cleaning the work area with HEPA vacuuming and wet washing.  The rule also requires a cleaning inspection after the work is completed and grants the remodeler flexibility in determining the size of the work area, which can reduce the size of the area subject to containment.  In addition, the EPA rule also lists prohibited work practices ― including open-torch burning and using high-heat guns that exceed 1100 F and high-speed equipment such as grinders and sanders unless equipped with a HEPA filter.
  • Verifying the Cleaning and Record Keeping:  After clean-up is completed, the certified renovator will be required to verify the cleaning by matching a cleaning cloth with an EPA verification card. If the cloth appears dirtier or darker than the card, the cleaning must be repeated.  In addition, the certified renovator will be required to keep a complete file of records on the project for three years. These records will include, but will not be limited to: verification that the owner or occupant of the home has received a copy of the “Renovate Right” pamphlet, or an attempt has been made to inform them of the pamphlet and its contents; documentation of work practices used during the project; and the certified renovator’s certification and proof of worker training.  NAHB believes that record keeping will be a major enforcement tool for the regulation.

Learn More

For extensive information on the rule, provided by NAHB Remodelers, visit www.nahb.org/leadpaint

Education: Learn About Lead Paint Rule During Oct. 28 Audio Seminar

Remodelers Council members can listen to the Audio Seminar Tuesday, Oct 28th at 11am at the HBA for FREE!  Call HBA receptionist at 503-684-1880 to RSVP.

Experts on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new lead paint rule governing the work of professional remodelers in homes where there is suspected lead-based paint will discuss the rule and its implications during an NAHB audio seminar beginning 2:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Oct. 28.

Presented by NAHB Remodelers and The NAHB University of Housing, seminar participants in the seminar, “The EPA’s New Lead Paint Rule: What it Means for You,” will explain in detail what the new rule covers, exactly what remodelers will have to do to be in compliance and where to find additional information.

Featured speakers include:

  • Brindley Byrd, CGR, CAPS, of QX2 Contracting in Lansing, Mich.
    Byrd is an advocate for the remodeling industry and has been an active member of the NAHB Remodelers Lead Based Paint Task Force since 2003.
  • Bob Hanbury, CGR, of House of Hanbury in Newington, Conn.
    Hanbury is a member of the Connecticut Department of Public Safety State Codes and Standards Committee and has represented the remodeling industry during discussions and presentations on lead paint with HUD and the EPA.
  • Matt Watkins, NAHB environmental policy analyst.
    Watkins has been integral in writing several comment letters about the rule to the EPA. Prior to working at NAHB, he was a certified lead-paint risk assessor and worked extensively in enforcement and compliance for both state and local government. He also worked for a high production builder.

The EPA lead paint rule addresses remodeling and renovation projects disturbing more than six square feet of potentially contaminated painted surfaces for all residential and multifamily structures built prior to 1978 that are inhabited or frequented by pregnant women and children under the age of six. It will take effect in April 2010.

It requires a cleaning inspection after the work is completed and grants the remodeler flexibility in determining the size of the work area, which can reduce the size of the area subject to containment.

The EPA rule also lists prohibited work practices ― including open-torch burning and using high-heat guns and high-speed equipment such as grinders and sanders not equipped with a HEPA filter.

For general information about the rule and what NAHB Remodelers are doing to help their members, click here.