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EPA's rule — 14 yrs delayed — comes into force to protect children from leaded paint poisoning during home renovations

Jennifer Sass

Posted April 21, 2010

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On Thursday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will put into force its long-overdue lead-safe workpractices rule, called the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule. Yay!

This rule will go a long long way towards protecting homeowners, their families, and renovators from harmful exposure to lead-contaminated paint. (Lead was banned from house paint in 1978, so new homes are not at risk).

USA Today reported in 2007 on kids getting severely poisoned from lead paint during home renovations. That report notes that in 1992, 19 years ago, Congress required EPA to write this rule to protect children, and wanted it finalized it by 1996. Instead it took another decade, until 2006, for EPA to propose the regulation. And, another four years, until today, to finalize it!

The LRRP Rule is a federal law requiring that by April 22, 2010, renovation firms must be certified in lead-safe work practices and individuals must have completed a one-day training course in lead-safe work practices; certification is valid for five years.

EPA finalized its LRRP rule in 2008 because of continued widespread childhood poisoning from old leaded paint during renovations and home repairs, but gave renovators another two years to get certified and in compliance.

More info here on lead paint poisoning.


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MikeAApr 21 2010 10:08 PM

While I agree that there needs to be controls in place for lead remediation, I must say the the roll-out of this policy is horrific. There has been NO communication to the building trades and remodeling industry, certified training facilities are just now gearing up (I have to travel over 350 miles to goto class), required equipment is so scarce it costs more than gold. The EPA is claiming success with 125,000 remodelers having been certified. Excuse me but this rule requires every plumber, framer, electrician, HVAC, roofer, painter, handyman, landlord, property manager, etc. to be certified by my rough count that has to be over 5,000,000 people in the US! Success... ha! I have been asking these folks over the last couple of months if they are getting there certifications and most don't have a clue what I'm talking about. You surmise that this rule will go a long way to protecting homeowners, how? I would also like to mention one other thing. The EPA has agreed to further reduce rights in my own home through a little publicized litigation settlement that eliminates the ability for homeowners to waive the requirement of their contractors. Perhaps we should redo our slogan from "home of the free" to "home of the used to be free".

NancyFApr 22 2010 05:37 PM

is the opt-out provision definitley out?

Another problem with the implementation of this rule (not the idea behind the rule, I don't think anyone disagrees with its intent) is that homeowners know nothing about this new law either -- and are going to wonder why the costs of replacement windows or other "minor" renovations are going to go up significantly -- and if the rules are followed as written, they most certainly will. If homeowners choose a renovator based on cost only, they will likely end up going with a renovator who has not been certified or, even if they have been certified, may not follow all the rules in order to bid lower on the job (as opposed to the guys following the law) and the guys following the law will lose out on jobs. There are certainly poor enforcement mechanisms in place (even though the fines are very stiff) -- so how will the legit guys be protected?

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