Lead Paint Bill Aims to Focus on Safety over Unneeded Costs

June 09, 2012

Amid concerns from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and affiliated trade groups, Reps. John Sullivan (R-Okla.), Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) and a bipartisan list of original co-sponsors introduced legislation to make important improvements to the Environmental Protection Agency‘s (EPA) Lead: Repair, Renovation and Painting (LRRP) rule.

Family looking at homeThe LLRP rule requires that remodelers and contractors working in homes built before 1978, where lead-painted surfaces are most common, be trained and certified by the EPA on lead-safe work practices before they can legally work in those homes.

The LLRP rule went into effect on April 22, 2010. Three months later, the EPA got rid of the “opt-out” provision. This provision allowed remodelers working in homes built before 1978 to avoid expensive work practices according to the homeowner’s wishes if no children under the age of six or pregnant women lived in the home.

The removal of this provision enabled the EPA to more than double the number of homes subject to the LRRP while adding an estimated $336 million per year in compliance costs to the remodeling community. However, the removal of the provision does nothing to improve the rule’s original focus: Keeping young children safe.

Furthermore, the EPA has yet to approve of a compliance test kit.

The new legislation, H.R. 5911, the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012, would:

• Reinstate the opt-out provision to allow home owners without small children or pregnant women residing in them – not the government — to decide whether to require LRRP compliance.

• Suspend the LRRP if EPA does not approve a commercially available test kit that meets the regulation’s requirements.

• Allow remodelers to reduce fines if they correct paperwork errors found during an inspection.

• Eliminate the “hands on” recertification training requirements that force some remodelers to travel long distances to training facilities to receive proper certification.

• Prohibit EPA from expanding the LRRP to commercial and public buildings until at least one year after the agency conducts a study demonstrating the need for such an action.
• Provide an exemption to the regulation for emergency renovations.

“We commend Reps. Sullivan and Murphy for championing this bill that will not only make the EPA’s lead paint rule more workable, but continue to protect pregnant women and small children,” said 2012 NAHB Remodelers Chairman George “Geep” Moore Jr. “This legislation will provide families greater flexibility to decide on their own remodeling activities and give them the peace of mind of knowing sound safeguards remain in place to protect against lead hazards.”

Categories: Education, NAHB, Remodeling

About The Author

Read All Stories By Mitch Levinson

Mitch Levinson is the author of “Internet Marketing: The Key to Increased New Home Sales” published by BuilderBooks. He is an Internet marketing expert with expertise in search engine optimization, website development, email marketing, social media and CRM consulting services. He is known for creating effective programs that can be tracked through analytics to prove effectiveness and ROI. Mitch is founder and president of MLC New Home Marketing and MLC FlatFee Realty, as well as managing partner of mRELEVANCE, LLC, a Marketing, Communication, Interactive agency with offices in Chicago and Atlanta. He currently leads the Chicago team. A Multi-Million Dollar Sales Producer who earned an MBA in Computer Information Systems and eCommerce, he brings a unique perspective and experience to the field of real estate communications. Mitch combines the two interests in order to help home builders and developers gain a competitive advantage through the Internet and technology. When he isn’t behind a computer, he enjoys participating in sports and coaching his kids’ teams. Mitch resides in Arlington Heights, Ill., a northwest suburb of Chicago, with his family, which includes two rambunctious labs. Visit my Google+ profile.

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