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The lead rule applies to homes built before 1978 and requires renovator training and certification, adherence to lead-safe work practices, containing and cleaning dust and record keeping.
“We’re pleased that the EPA listened to the concerns of remodelers about the extreme costs the proposed clearance testing would have imposed,” said Bob Peterson, NAHB Remodelers chair and a remodeler from Fort Collins, Colo.
“Home owners are saved from spending a great deal of money on lead testing. If remodeling is more affordable, home owners will be able to hire an EPA-certified renovator to keep them safe from lead dust hazards during renovation,” he said.
"Many thanks go to congressional leaders for their support of remodelers and NAHB. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) have been advocates on lead paint regulation issues and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their efforts," said Peterson.
Remodeler members and NAHB staff also worked tirelessly to oppose clearance testing by making visits to the EPA and the White House Office of Management and Budget, giving testimony to Congress and submitting comments about the potential harm of enacting the clearance testing proposal.
At NAHB’s request, this regulation was selected for review by the EPA under the Presidential Executive Order for Regulatory Review (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, 76 FR 3821, issued on Jan. 21) examining the impact of federal rules on small businesses and job creation.
The EPA has been under pressure by NAHB and lawmakers over the lack of a test kit that meets the rule's requirements and agency actions — such as removing the opt-out provision — that have raised the costs of the regulation.
Under the lead paint rule, contractors have been required to wipe down the project area after completing remodeling or renovation work and match the result with an EPA-approved card to determine whether lead paint dust is still present — a process that the EPA says is “effective at reducing dust lead levels below the dust-lead hazard standard.”
The proposal would have required contractors to hire EPA-accredited dust samplers to collect several samples after a renovation and send them to an EPA-accredited lab for lead testing.
Because of the cost of this approach — as well as the waiting period for test results and the limited number of accredited labs nationwide — professional remodelers were concerned about the willingness of home owners to go through the process.
“The EPA has maintained its common-sense approach to keeping families safe during renovation,” said Peterson. “Hiring trained professional remodelers to contain dust, use lead-safe work practices and clean up has been shown to successfully minimize lead hazards and protect individuals from lead exposure.”
Several problems with the rule still remain.
The EPA has yet to recognize an efficient, low-cost lead test kit that meets the requirements of the regulation. And last year the agency removed the opt-out provision — which allowed home owners with no children or pregnant women in residence to waive the rule’s requirement.
In today’s soft economy, consumers are still balking at the extra costs of the rule and often choose to reduce the amount of work done on their homes, hire uncertified contractors or endanger themselves by attempting the work themselves.
To read the announcement from the EPA, click here.
For information on the lead paint rule, visit www.nahb.org/leadpaint.
For more information, email Kelly Mack at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8451.