We have been reporting on the EPA’s new Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule since last fall and there is another development in the story.
In October, we told you that an EPA mandated test requirement could not be enforced because the tests in the regulation were not reliable. “Tests which are currently available sometimes have a false positive rate as high as 60%.”
At that time, amendments were being proposed to end the mandate because the tests called for by the rule had to have a false positive rate no higher than 10% and a false negative rate no higher than 5%.
We have been hoping for the development of a better test so that the rule could be enforced, leading to greater safety from lead poisoning during renovation projects.
A blog reader asked us some follow-up questions and we learned that:
The unreliable test kits cannot be used in California—they are not recognized by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
When renovating a pre-1978 home, you must either hire a State-certified lead inspector, or assume that lead is in the paint and follow the EPA’s safe work practices.
We learned later that only State-certified inspectors can conduct the required clearance testing, but clearance is only required after abatement or on projects involving child poisoning. Repair and renovation work in California only requires a self-verification, except in San Diego, where it is required based on the specific paint.
Last week a small bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives introduced H.R. 5911, a bill which would suspend the RRP if there is no test kit which meets the EPA’s criteria for false negative and false positive results. It would also allow homeowners without small children or pregnant women in the home to opt out of following the rule when doing renovations, among other changes.
At Alliance, we look forward to having a reliable test for the presence of lead and we support the new lowered lead poisoning standards. There is no safe level of exposure to lead for children, pregnant women or anyone else. Renovation project like floor refinishing can release lead dust into a home and even contaminate a neighborhood, a landfill, even a compost heap like the one recently closed in Boston. If there is lead present, it needs to be removed with care. The RRP rule as it currently stands cannot be enforced in terms of the mandated testing, but it should not be abandoned completely. It is important for there to be safety regulations protecting us all from the lead poisoning which can wreak such terrible consequences.
The new bill would not protect children and pregnant women from lead dust present in homes purchased after the renovations have taken place.
If you have lead in your home and want to repair, renovate or remove it in California, you can contact Alliance Environmental Group for help. Our highly trained professional teams can remove any lead paint without danger to you or your family or themselves in the process, putting your mind at ease now and in the future.
Hope you had a lovely Father’s Day!
Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for Alliance Environmental Group and AirTek Indoor Air Solutions. We welcome your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on indoor air challenges, Like us at AirTek on Facebook!