Finally, Some Good News: EPA Says No to Clearance Testing

July 15th, 2011 by DWM Magazine

As the industry held its breath this week awaiting the news of whether the EPA would expand its Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule to include dust wipe sampling and clearance testing requirements as proposed in May 2010, the EPA announced today that it has decided against the testing.

While an announcement was scheduled for today many wondered if it would indeed come. But late this afternoon, the EPA announced “it is not necessary to impose new lead-dust sampling and laboratory analysis, known as the clearance requirements, as part of the LRRP.

Industry associations who have lobbied hard against inclusion of clearance testing, issued statements applauding the EPA’s decision.

“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,” says Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) president Michael O’Brien. “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.”

“We’re pleased that the EPA listened to the concerns of remodelers about the extreme costs the proposed clearance testing would have imposed,” adds Bob Peterson, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers chair.

He points out that under the lead paint rule contractors have been required to wipe down the project area after completing remodeling or renovation work and match the result to an EPA-approved card to determine whether lead paint dust is still present – a process that EPA says is “effective at reducing dust lead levels below the dust-lead hazard standard.” The proposal would have required contractors to hire EPA-accredited dust samplers to collect several samples after a renovation and send them to an EPA-accredited lab for lead testing.

“The EPA has maintained its common sense approach to keeping families safe during renovation,” said Peterson. “Hiring trained professional remodelers to contain dust, use lead-safe work practices, and clean up has been shown to successfully minimize lead hazards and protect individuals from lead exposure.”

EPA did announce it was making some changes that “clarify and strengthen 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.” WDMA says it will be reviewing those changes to gauge their impact on the industry.

O’Brien adds that 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. The association says it will also oppose efforts to expand the rule to commercial buildings.

 

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  1. In the affected homes built before 1976; 99% of all windows I replace are aluminum frames with original non-lead paint. When we remove a window there is no disturbance of the painted walls, interior or exterior. EPA requires lots of paperwork, testing, record keeping which in order to comply would require additional staff that I can not afford. With false positives from the test kits, the requirements extend to much higher installation costs. When I replace windows, there is very little dust generated and almost drywall disturbed. Aluminum windows are painted with ESP type paints. ESP applications were not compatible with lead based paints. Their entire application toward the window replacement industry is an unnecessary, ignorant based, job killing burden on a stressed industry.

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