Monday, June 11, 2012
House Bill Could Suspend Lead Paint Rule
Representatives in the U.S. House on Thursday introduced legislation that would suspend the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule if the EPA cannot approve a commercially available lead test kit that meets the rule's "false negative" and "false positive" criteria.
The bill "will hold EPA accountable for their failure to produce viable test kits to meet their own regulatory mandates," Rep. John Sullivan, R-Okla., who introduced the bill, said in a release.
There are currently two products available nationally that can "reliably determine that regulated lead-based paint is not present on wood," according to the EPA. One is 3M's LeadCheck and the other is D-Lead, which is made by ESCA Tech Inc. Still, neither complies with both the RRP rule's negative and positive response criteria of no more than 5 percent false negatives and no more than 10 percent false positives, each with 95 percent confidence, as related to the regulated level of lead in paint of 1.0 mg/cm2 or 0.5 percent by weight. It is this delinquency that Rep. Sullivan has seized upon to try to suspend the rule altogether.
The bill, H.R. 5911, also includes a provision to restore the RRP rule's "opt-out" provision that allows homeowners without small children or pregnant women residing with them to decide whether to require contractors to adhere to the RRP rule. In addition, the bill would reduce paperwork-related fines, eliminate the requirement for hands-on recertification, and prohibit the agency from expanding the rule to cover commercial and public buildings until the EPA conducts a study for it. The legislation is similar to a bill introduced by Sen. James Inhofe in March.
In May 2010 the EPA gave its reason for removing the opt-out provision in the first place: "As pointed out by a number of commenters on the RRP rule, the opt-out provision does not protect families with young children who may purchase recently renovated target housing." Specifically, the EPA feared that "… dust-lead hazards created during renovations in an owner-occupied residence conducted prior to a sale will be present for the next occupants."
"Mr. Sullivan’s bill will help make sure that those who are most vulnerable to lead exposure receive the full health protections of this rule and remove some of the unintended regulatory burdens to those contractors working to do the right thing," Inhofe said in a statement.
The list of co-sponsors for the bill includes seven Republicans and two Democrats. The same day it was introduced it was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, according to GovTrack.us.
On Friday, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) voiced support for the bill.