More than four years after the rule has taken effect, the EPA has recognized two nationally-available leadpaint test kits for use in complying with the rule; however, neither test kit meets the rule’s standard of no more than 10% false positives. As a result, in some cases consumers are paying for work practices that are unnecessary and provide no benefit, but must be employed because of false positive test results.
Last year in a letter to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the EPA acknowledged it had no plans to identify and approve a test kit meeting the rule’s standard for false positives, and that the false positive rates for the two Agency-approved text kits available nationwide range from 22.5% to 84%.
Beginning in 2015, some certified contractors will begin the recertification process. Every five years, contractors certified to perform RRP activities must take hands-on training as part of the recertification process. NLBMDA and NAHB have told the EPA that certified contractors should be allowed to take an online course—rather than in-person training—for recertification. The EPA has said it is exploring online recertification but has yet to approve it.
The EPA is now considering expanding the rule to commercial and public buildings as part of a revised settlement agreement. Under the Toxic Substances Control Act, Congress requires the Agency to first conduct a separate and independent study of lead paint hazards in public and commercial buildings before it can issue regulations for renovating and remodeling those structures. The EPA is on record as stating it lacks data on lead hazards in commercial and public buildings, but the agency is nonetheless moving forward and is expected to issue a proposed rule as soon as July 1, 2015.
NLBMDA takes the issue of lead exposure very seriously and supports efforts to protect pregnant women and young children. The current RRP Rule, although well intentioned, has been plagued by problems and the EPA should address the flaws to make the rule work better for both certified firms and homeowners.