EPA Will Not Require Lead Clearance Testing

July 15, 2011

The Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it will not add additional clearance testing requirements to the current Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.  "After carefully weighing all available information and considering the public comments, EPA has concluded it is not necessary to impose new lead-dust sampling and laboratory analysis, known as the clearance requirements," it stated in an email alert.

"The agency believes that the existing lead-safe work practices and clean up requirements—which went into place in 2010—will protect people from lead dust hazards created during renovations jobs without the need for additional clearance requirements," the statement continued. "Nothing in today’s action will hamper implementation of the tough protections already in place. EPA determined that the lead-safe work practices will protect human health without imposing additional regulatory burdens and costs associated with taking dust samples and obtaining laboratory analyses."

The decision was welcomed by numerous building and construction industy organizations.  "We're pleased that the EPA listened to the concerns of remodelers about the extreme costs the proposed clearance testing would have imposed," says Bob Peterson, NAHB Remodelers chair and a remodeler from Fort Collins, Colo. "Homeowners are saved from spending a great deal of money on lead testing. If remodeling is more affordable, home owners will be able to hire an EPA-certified renovator to keep them safe from lead dust hazards during renovation."

"In the end, we prevailed," says David Walker, VP of the Window & Door Dealers Alliance. "This is a major victory for the WDDA, our sister associations, and the window and door dealer industry. We have all worked tirelessly to stop this onerous and unnecessary regulation."

"Today's announcement is a significant victory for WDMA, its building industry allies, homeowners and the members of Congress who have led the charge on this issue," adds Michael O'Brien, president of the Window & Door Manufacturers Association. "In particular, we would like to thank Senator Jim Inhofe and Congressman Bob Latta for their leadership in organizing Senate and House opposition to the clearance testing rule."

WDMA will continue in its efforts to bring the LRRP Rule back on track with what was originally approved in 2008, in particular efforts to reinstate the opt-out provision for homeowners who do not have children under six or pregnant women present in their home, O'Brien adds. The association will also oppose efforts to expand the rule to commercial buildings.

The announcement from EPA notes that although the agency is not imposing clearance requirements, it has changed the final rule that "clarifies and strengthens the current lead-safe work practices, including requiring that a vertical containment system or equivalent measures be used when outside renovations are performed within 10 feet of a property line, and that HEPA-vacuum filters be changed at regular intervals."

EPA also states that it will "aggressively enforce" the LRRP rule and continue its education and outreach program to ensure lead-safe work practices and to reduce lead poisonings across the country.