House Bill Would Prohibit Enforcement of Lead Rule Without Reliable Test Kit

July 13, 2011

The Window and Door Manufacturers Association reports that the House Appropriations Committee has adopted an amendment to the Environmental Protection Agency's 2012 budget which would prohibit the agency from enforcing its Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule until the agency approves a reliable lead test kit as mandated by the agency's own rule. The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) and was approved by a voice vote of the committee.

Under the LRRP Rule, EPA was supposed to have approved a commercially-available lead test kit which produced no more than 10 percent false positives and 5 percent false negatives, WDMA notes. Currently no such kit is available on the market, with some current kits producing false positives as high as 60 percent, thereby forcing LRRP compliance and the additional costs upon thousands of consumers in homes that otherwise would have tested negative.

"WDMA commends Congressman Rehberg and the members of the committee who supported his amendment for their leadership on this issue," says Michael O'Brien, WDMA president and CEO. "It is entirely reasonable to expect EPA to comply with their own regulations especially since it expects the window, door and skylight industry to comply. We are doing our part, they should do theirs."

According to a report in Nation's Building News, a coalition led by the National Association of Home Builders, including WDMA, the Associated General Contractors of America, Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, National Association of Realtors and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, sent a letter of support for the amendment to the committee.  “We urge you to adopt the Rehberg Amendment and require the U.S. EPA to comply with its own regulation regarding renovation work in homes and buildings that may contain lead-based paint,” the letter said. 

“To be very clear, we fully support efforts to protect children and pregnant women from exposures to lead-based paint in homes and buildings,” it continued, but because there is no accurate test kit available, “the EPA has made compliance with the regulation as difficult and as inordinately burdensome as possible while simultaneously not complying itself.”

"Members of the WDDA applaud this effort," says David Walker, VP of the Window and Door Dealers Alliance. "We look forward to working with our industry colleagues and policymakers as the bill advances."

The bill now moves to the full House of Representatives for consideration.