Lead-PaintWhat Home Owners Need to Know About Lead-Paint and Remodeling Homes Built Before 1978
October 17, 2013: EPA Won’t Move Forward on Accurate Lead Paint Test Kits- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that it has no plans to sponsor studies of new, more accurate kits designed to test for the presence of lead paint in homes before remodeling projects can begin.
After a group of remodelers and builders met with EPA leaders during the NAHB Spring Board of Directors meeting, the agency sent a letter to NAHB stating that it has "no plans or resources" to look for more accurate testing methods, even though test kits currently recognized by the EPA have false positive rates ranging from 22.5% to 84%.
Absent a reliable test kit, remodelers or their clients must pay for more expensive testing methods or presume the presence of lead and use lead-safe work practices during the remodeling job if the home was built before 1978. Lead-safe certified remodelers told EPA that the lack of an inexpensive kit is forcing them to lose work to uncertified and fly-by-night operators who won’t tack on the additional charges.
NAHB continues its efforts on Capitol Hill to press EPA to restore the opt-out provision, especially in the absence of a reliable test kit. Lead paint resources for remodelers and consumers are available at nahb.org/leadpaint. For additional information, email Nissa Hiatt at NAHB or call her at 800-368-5242 x8451.
January 9, 2013: Since it became effective in 2010, EPA's Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule requires all contractors working on pre-1978 properties to obtain RRP EPA/HUD Lead Paint Certification. Nationwide, approximately 100,000 renovators have been certified by EPA, and an additional 20,000 in 12 authorized states have been certified. The rule applies to all contractors, all trades working in pre-1978 homes. Individuals who are self employed and work alone must have both a firm certification and an individual certification. Too many firms, however, have not been certified and are not following lead-safe work practices. So, the EPA started on January 9, 2013, mailing postcard warnings to uncertified contractors. EPA's enforcement of the RRP Rule is a small yet positive step in leveling the playing field so that all contractors are following the same rules and following lead-safe practices. See EPA's lead-safe certification program for contractors. See EPA's lead-paint main page.
July 6, 2012: D.C. Circuit Upholds EPA’s Removal of the Opt-Out Provision - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled on June 22, 2012 that the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove the "opt-out” provision from its lead paint rule is legal. While NAHB is disappointed with the decision, the association continues to work with Congress to reinstate the opt-out provision.
The opt-out provision would allow remodelers working in a home built prior to 1978 to forego more expensive work practices according to the owner’s wish if no children under the age of six or pregnant women resided there. The EPA included the opt-out provision in the original 2008 Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Program Rule (LRRP Rule), but later agreed to remove the provision to resolve a legal challenge against the rule. When the EPA finalized the removal of the opt-out provision in 2010, this more than doubled the number of homes subject to the LRRP Rule. The agency has estimated that this will add more than $500 million per year to the cost of the regulation. See EPA's Lead Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Program.
NAHB, leading a coalition of industry trade groups, filed a petition for review in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the removal of the opt-out. The other groups in the coalition include the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association.
On June 22, the court issued its decision in favor of the EPA. The court found that federal agencies may change existing regulations so long as the amended rule is allowed by the statute and the agency acknowledges the change in course. In the case of the opt-out, the court found that since the EPA was not obligated to include an opt-out provision in the LRRP Rule, it could remove the provision without offering new information to justify its removal. The court clearly understood the motivations behind the EPA’s sudden change of heart. In concluding the court’s opinion, Judge Merrick Garland wrote: "[T]here were…two…events of note…that go a long way toward explaining why EPA reconsidered the opt-out provision: namely, the inauguration of a new President and the confirmation of a new EPA Administrator.”
Though the court’s decision is not entirely unexpected, NAHB remains hopeful that legislation in both the House and Senate (H.R. 5911 and S. 2148) will ultimately lead to the reinstatement of the opt-out provision.
To learn more about EPA’s lead paint rule visit www.nahb.org/leadpaint.
August 5, 2011: EPA has published the final rule for the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (LRRP) in the August 5, 2011 edition of the Federal Register. The changes made to the LRRP go into effect on October 4, 2011. The good news is: EPA will not require clearance and dust wipe testing!
There are several changes which will directly affect your job sites. These are summarized below.
1. Certified Renovators may collect a paint chip, from the components to be disturbed, for laboratory analysis. This is an alternative to performing an EPA recognized test kit. EPA will be publishing guidance on how those renovators previously certified will be able to receive training on this option.
2. Vertical containment or equivalent extra precautions in containing the work area must be used on exterior renovations performed within 10 feet of the property line. By incorporating the phrase "or equivalent extra precautions" EPA is allowing contractors to use the technique which best suits the situation in order to contain dust during an exterior renovation. EPA is additionally allowing the use of less than 10 feet (for exteriors) and less than 6 feet (for interiors) of plastic sheeting or other impermeable material to be placed on the ground/floor if used in conjunction with a vertical containment.
3. EPA is clarifying that the prohibited practices apply to all painted surfaces, not just "lead-based paint." To do this EPA replaced the term" lead-based paint" with "painted surfaces" and added "painted surfaces" to the definitions within the regulation.
4. HEPA vacuums must now be operated in accordance with manufacturer's instructions.
5. EPA is clarifying that the on the job training required to be provided by the certified renovator refers to only those lead-safe work practices required by the LRRP.
6. The recordkeeping and post renovation reporting requirements are modified to include paint chip sampling results similar to the previous requirements of recognized test kits.
As you can see these changes are relatively minor, allowing the certified renovator and the renovation firms to stay in compliance with the regulation without a significant change to their business practices
July 15, 2011 - A note from EPA: After carefully weighing all available information and considering the public comments, EPA has concluded it is not necessary to impose new lead-dust sampling and laboratory analysis, known as the clearance requirements, as part of the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) rule. The Agency believes that the existing lead-safe work practices and clean up requirements -- which went into place in 2010 -- will protect people from lead dust hazards created during renovations jobs without the need for additional clearance requirements.
Nothing in today’s action will hamper implementation of the tough protections already in place. EPA determined that the lead-safe work practices will protect human health without imposing additional regulatory burdens and costs associated with taking dust samples and obtaining laboratory analyses. EPA had agreed to complete a final rule addressing the clearance issue by July 15th as part of an agreement to settle litigation with the Sierra Club and other petitioners over certain post-renovation cleaning requirements of the 2008 RRP rule.
Although EPA is not imposing clearance requirements, the final rule clarifies and strengthens the current lead-safe work practices, including requiring that a vertical containment system or equivalent measures be used when outside renovations are performed within 10 feet of a property line, and that HEPA-vacuum filters be changed at regular intervals. EPA will aggressively enforce the LRRP rule and continue our extensive education and outreach program to ensure lead-safe work practices and continue to reduce lead poisonings across the country. Please visit www.epa.gov/lead for a copy of this final rule or for additional information on the LRRP requirements.
April 29, 2011 - Beware of scammers selling LRRP forms! All the forms you need for compliance are in the EPA manuals and can be copied. If you want the convenience of pre-printed forms check to be sure the forms you buy are identical to the forms in the EPA manual.
September 20, 2010 - NAHB v. EPA, NAHB challenges EPA's removal of the opt-out rule.
August 30, 2010 - Deadline for complying with LRRP Rule Coming Up - ask Local Associations for their training schedule.
May 18, 2010 - Clearance & Clearance Testing Requirements Summary - But See July 15, 2011, note above from EPA.
May 4, 2010 update - EPA eliminates opt-out provision
1. Contractors who work on pre-1978 housing need to be certified and use lead-safe work practices.
To become certified, renovation contractors must submit an application and fee payment to EPA.The EPA's website has information for contractors: http://www2.epa.gov/lead/epa-lead-safe-certification-program. There are a limited number of EPA certified trainers for the RRP or lead safety class. The five local Home Builders Associations in Connecticut have been and will continue to offer lead certification classes as often as possible. Contact the local HBA in your area, or contact the HBACT, 860-216-5858 for class dates and times. Classes are filling up quickly and many have sold out, so don't wait.
2. Companies must apply for certification from EPA in addition to having employees certified: The EPA has up to 90 days after receiving a complete request for certification to approve or disapprove the application, so submit the application right away (even before employees have taken the individual certification class).
3. Contractors must provide customers (owners, tenants or childcare facilities) with a copy of the EPA's Lead Hazard Information Pamphlet before beginning any work on a home built before 1978. The brochure can also be downloaded from the EPA's site, along with an EPA document to confirm that the customer has received the brochure: compliance form.
4. Document, document, document: There are many documentation requirements attached to the EPA regs. Be sure to keep careful records of training and certification of your firm and employees. Whenever you work on a pre-1978 homes, carefully document that you and your employees are following lead safe procedures in your work.
5. If you need to update your contracts to reflect the changes, NAHB has sample contracts.
See what NAHB and we are telling home owners: what home owners need to know about lead-paint
See CT Department of Public Health's notice on EPA's lead-paint rule.
Check with your land use or environmental counsel for any updates to laws and regulations.