EPA Ordered to Revisit Lead Paint Standards; Effect on LRRP Unclear

Window & Door
January 16, 2018

San Francisco's federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals directed the Environmental Protection Agency to update its regulations defining lead-based paint and how much lead in dust represents a hazard. The court gave EPA 90 days to issue a proposed rule and one year to publish a final rule with an option to convince the court that it needs additional time.

The court said the agency had unreasonably delayed action on a citizen’s petition submitted in 2009. The plaintiffs argued that EPA’s lead-paint standards, finalized in 2001 and separate from the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule have not accounted for new data published since then. EPA stated that it would take up to six years to develop a new standard, but the court rejected that argument and issued a ruling mandating the agency to take immediate action with a proposed rule in 90 days and a final rule issued within one year of the ruling.

The court found that EPA has a duty under the Toxic Substances Control Act to update its lead-based paint hazard standard to ensure it is sufficient to protect children’s health. In its ruling, the court said:

“This statutory framework clearly indicates that Congress did not want EPA to set initial standards and then walk away, but to engage in an ongoing process, accounting for new information, and to modify initial standards when necessary to further Congress’s intent: to prevent childhood lead poisoning and eliminate lead-based paint hazards.”

It’s unclear how the court’s ruling could affect the controversial LRRP, which the Window and Door Manufacturers Association and other industry groups have been working to overhaul for several years.

“We have read the ruling and at this time, WDMA’s focus continues to be on resolving the ongoing issues with the RRP rule’s implementation, including the lack of a commercially available test kit and reinstating the opt-out provision,” says Kevin McKenney, director of government affairs with the WDMA. “We understand EPA has been instructed by the court to issue a proposed rule within 90 days, and we will be closely evaluating it when it is published.”

Click here to read the ruling.