NAHB Opposes Petition to Revise EPA Lead Paint Rules
Even as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency struggles to implement new training and certification requirements for remodelers working in homes where there is lead-based paint, a coalition of advocacy groups has petitioned the agency to revise standards and definitions that apply to the rule — and the EPA agreed.
NAHB has submitted comments on the petition, asking the agency to deny the request. “Changes in the lead-dust hazard standard will only serve to confound the purpose of the rule, perplex both the public and the regulated community and potentially put more children at risk,” the NAHB letter said.
“Today’s petition is simply a means to circumvent the CDC’s decision by inappropriately endeavoring to compel the EPA to change its regulations,” NAHB said.
In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the National Center for Healthy Housing, the Alliance for Healthy Homes and the Sierra Club asked the agency to reduce the current lead-dust hazard standard and to create a new definition for lead-based paint.
The changes are inappropriate, NAHB argued, for a number of reasons.
First, the lead dust standard requested by the petitioners conflicts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “action level” at which health agencies are compelled to intervene on behalf of a child.
The petitioners also want to regulate homes with paint composed of 0.06% lead by weight, more than eight times more stringent than the current definition of 0.5% Even if the definition needed to be changed, the correct agency to make that change would be the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the NAHB letter pointed out.
In its response to the petition, the EPA said it would work with HUD on changes to the definition. In addition, the agency said it would grant the petitioner's request and review the current lead-dust hazard standard.
Further, “the research submitted by the petitioners as the justification provided is insufficient to warrant making the desired changes, the letter said.
Most importantly, the petitioners’ request undermines new training and certification requirements for remodelers working in “target housing” built before 1972 and occupied by young children and pregnant women.
Revising the lead-dust standard and redefining lead-based paint would in effect send the EPA back to the drawing board.
“Remodelers and contractors are currently attending training courses to become certified renovators and dust sampling technicians” using new cleaning methods and other requirements, the NAHB letter said.
“If the lead-dust standard were revised, any contractors already certified would no longer be properly trained in the work practices outlined in the Lead Renovation Repair and Painting (LRRP) rule. Because the EPA is already struggling to have sufficient accredited training firms available, making such a change at this point makes little sense,” NAHB said. “In the end, this change could potentially impact over 200,000 contractors and property managers; confuse and deflate an already strained industry sector; and delay compliance with the LRRP rule.”
For more information, e-mail Calli Schmidt at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132.