On March 31, 2008 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released
lead-safe remodeling, repair and painting rule. EPA's announcement
of the rule followed years of regulatory delay.
The rule requires contractors and workers who work in older homes and
child-occupied facilities to take simple, low-cost precautions to avoid
creating and spreading lead debris and dust, and to clean up any dust
or debris that is generated. The rule also requires the firms and renovators
that are disturbing lead paint to be certified and to have at least one
employee who has completed a one-day lead-safe work practices training
and, as a result, is a "certified" renovator. Renovators are
responsible for providing “on-the-job” training for other
workers. Power sanding, open flame burning, and sandblasting of painted
surfaces are prohibited by the rule.
to read the Alliance’s and National Center for Healthy Housing’s
joint press release on the final remodeling and renovation rule. While
they applaud EPA’s final regulation to protect families from unsafe
renovation, repair, and painting work, there are several problems in the
final regulation that deserve serious attention. The Alliance and NCHH
have proposed a Legislative
Agenda to strengthen the rule.
In 1992, Congress instructed EPA to develop regulations
to create standards for conducting lead abatement activities and to ensure
that other renovation and repair activities do not create lead hazards
that could harm children. EPA followed through with the abatement side,
creating a structure for training, licensing, and regulating the lead
abatement industry. However, work done during the course of renovation—which
affects many more properties than lead abatement—was left unregulated
by EPA contrary to congressional mandate. After more than a decade of
false starts, EPA finally got serious about issuing a rule in response
to political and legal threats in 2005. To read the Alliance’s comments
on EPA’s draft rule, click here.
The EPA is giving states a year to step forward and seek authorization
to enforce the rule within their jurisdictions. So far, Wisconsin
is the only state to receive delegation of the rule. In February 2009,
EPA finalized a revised lead-safe work practices training
course and other educational and outreach materials. As of
April 2009, training providers may apply for accreditation to teach the
eight-hour lead-safe work practices and a four-hour refresher course.
In October 2009, renovators and firms may start applying for certifications.
By April 2010, all requirements of the rule go into full effect, and thereafter
only certified firms and individuals may legally perform the work covered
by the regulation. The National Center for Healthy Housing and the Alliance
for Healthy Homes developed a
list of proposed fixes that EPA or states could make to the
Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule when they consider the revisions
or adoption of the rule.
In October 2009, the US EPA announced its proposal
to make several changes to its Renovation, Repair, and Painting
(RRP) rule, seeking public comment by November 27. Many of the changes
proposed by the EPA are a result of a legal settlement with a number of
environmental and public health advocates (discussed in the August
Alert), however the EPA also added several proposals
of its own, including a request for comments on delaying the effective
date of the rule. Under the settlement, EPA will be proposing additional
changes to the rule in the coming months. It is essential that healthy
homes advocates provide feedback to the US EPA on the rule, supporting
the positive suggestions and arguing strongly against delaying the effective
submitted by the Alliance, NCHH, and Northern Manhattan Improvement
Corporation are available as a model.
On Aug. 21, 2008, the EPA issued a Federal
Register notice on the fee structure for multiple lead disciplines.
The EPA’s fees cover training providers, firms, and workers seeking
accreditation under existing lead disciplines as well as the fees to be
collected from trainers and firms under the new remodeling and renovation
rule. Read Alliance staff member Jane Malone's comment
to the EPA on the proposed fee structure.
The Alliance is now offering a two-day “Train-the-Trainer”
class at locations around the country to help prepare organizations to
become accredited trainers under the new RRP rule. Find out more here.