Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule may be Short Lived

[tweetmeme]American businesses have a common enemy: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency!  They too have a common ally: Rep. Darrell Issa (R) who happens to Chair the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  After the November elections, Rep. Issa requested from business and industry a list of rules his committee should investigate as impediments to economic recovery.  Over half of the 111 regulations cited by over 160 respondents, in the survey dealt with the EPA (click here to see the list), including those controlling greenhouse gas emissions.  But also mentioned were a range of other agency rules covering air toxic controls for industrial boilers, Clean Water Act pesticide permits, dust regulation, mountaintop mining, Chesapeake Bay pollution and ground-level ozone, or smog.

Some also want a “review and investigation” of the EPA’s Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) rules, which according to some “pose a major obstacle for a [housing] market recovery.”  The rule requires renovation work that disturbs more than six square feet on the interior of a pre-1978 home to follow new lead safe work practices supervised by an EPA-certified renovator and be performed by an EPA-certified renovation firm.  According to the respondents to Rep. Issa’s request implementation of the LRRP rules has resulted in the following:

  • Not enough training opportunities for renovators to become certified and therefore not enough certified renovators at the time of implementation;
  • Inadequate lead test kits producing over 60 percent false positives and an EPA-estimated $200 million in unnecessary additional compliance costs;
  • Ineffective and insufficient consumer awareness programs; and
  • Woefully underestimated costs for compliance with the LRRP Rule, particularly for small businesses.

All of which has thrown the residential renovation world into chaos.  Additionally the “Opt-out” provision in the original rule was removed by EPA which by some estimates “doubled” the amount of homes subject to the rule.  The “Opt-out” provision would have allowed home owners to waive compliance with the rule, if there were no pregnant women or children under six present in the home.  This is particularly important because the lead-based paint rules currently in place by Federal and most state agencies only apply to child occupied or target housing, and not general housing.

All of this adds up to the very real possibility that the LRRP rules may be thrown out in the name of economic recovery.  Last month, President Obama issued an executive order that called for a top-to-bottom review of federal regulations to get rid of rules that are outdated and harmful to the economy.

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee responded to the executive order by calling the man who is leading up that effort, House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator Cass Sunstein, to testify at the panel’s first hearings, entitled “Regulatory Impediments to Job Creation,” which was aimed at policymakers to hear important testimony from the front lines of our economic recovery.

“If there are rules on the books that are needlessly stifling job creation and economic growth, we will fix them,” Obama said in a recent address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Rep. Issa described his efforts as a congressional complement to what Obama is trying to do. 

Although this issue will revolve around the economy for sure, others insist that health and safety aren’t to be thrown out with the bath water.  “The American people sent us here not only to create jobs, but also to protect their health, welfare, and safety,” according to oversight panel ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).

Stay tuned….



  1. The best precautions are to examine your home for lead paint, lead paint chips, and to test your water for lead by a licensed laboratory. The EPA is made up of established an action stage for lead at 0.015 parts


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Greg lemke, Greg lemke and Monty Karl, Kyle Thill. Kyle Thill said: Via @GregLemke Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule may be Short Lived http://bit.ly/h7mbyV #safety […]

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