EPA Rejects Additional Lead-Paint Rule
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that it has rejected a proposed ruling to add further testing requirements to an existing lead-paint rule.
Business-advocacy groups such as the National Association of Home Builders and the National Federation of Independent Business applauded the decision.
“We are pleased to see that the EPA listened to small-business owners in this instance,” said Dan Bosch, manager of regulatory policy for NFIB, in a statement. But he added that additional steps are still needed to relieve owners from complying with the existing rule.
In effect since May 2010, the rule requires businesses that repair or renovate older buildings—specifically homes, schools and daycare centers built prior to 1978—to adhere to strict lead-safe work practices. (For more on the rule, please read “New Lead-Paint Law Heavy on Budgets.”) The proposal shot down on Friday would have required contractors to take additional steps to demonstrate that dust-lead levels remaining in the work area are below regulatory levels.
In a statement, Bob Peterson, a spokesman for NAHB, said trained professional remodelers already use lead-safe work practices, and the existing clean-up method “has been shown to successfully minimize lead hazards and protect individuals from lead exposure.” The group is pleased that the EPA has maintained a “common sense approach to keeping families safe during renovation,” he said.
Last month, an online survey of 1,500 contractors indicated that the proposed additional steps would cost on average an extra $100 to $500 per project. It further suggested that passing this expense onto customers could hurt business for contractors since more than three-quarters of respondents said that their homeowner clients already look for ways to avoid compliance costs.
The EPA’s final ruling on Friday notes that the agency is promulgating several other revisions to the lead-paint rule, including a provision allowing a certified renovator to collect a paint chip sample and send it to a recognized laboratory for analysis in lieu of using a lead test kit.