Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday that would reform the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule is being applauded by door and window groups. The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2013 (H.R. 2093) was introduced by Congressman Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) and has 21 co-sponsors.

Among its key provisions, H.R. 2093 would restore the “opt-out” clause; suspend the rule for owner-occupied housing built between 1960 and 1978 without a pregnant woman or small child present if EPA cannot approve a test kit meeting its own standard for false positives; prohibit expansion of the rule to commercial buildings until EPA conducts research demonstrating the need for such action; and provide a de minimis exemption for first-time paperwork violations.

“This industry faced some tough years when the housing market crashed, and retrofit and remodeling work was critical in keeping some dealers in business,” says National Lumber and Building Material Dealer Association (NLBMDA) president Chuck Bankston, president of Bankston Lumber in Barnesville, Ga. “We completely support the goal of protecting small children and pregnant women from lead, but EPA has trampled over the original intent of the Lead Rule. EPA’s forceful focus on paperwork violations, failure to approve a lead-test kit meeting its own standards and ever broadening interpretation of the rule is having a chilling effect on our industry’s ability to have installed sales operations, serve remodelers and get energy-efficient products into homes.

The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) also was pleased with introduction of the bill as it has been heavily involved in seeing changes made to the lead rule.

“While the housing market slowly improves, the door and window retrofit market has played a large part in sustaining our industry,” says Michael O’Brien, president and CEO of WDMA. “The EPA is unnecessarily hurting our economic recovery and consumers’ ability to get new energy efficient products into their homes by expanding the Lead Rule beyond its original intent.”

Rich Walker, CEO and president of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) says AAMA is encouraged by the reintroduction of legislation to both restore the RRP “opt-out” provision and force EPA to produce lead test kits that meet the pass/fail criteria required within the amended rule.

“It has become increasingly apparent through comparisons of historical home renovation activity data and CDC statistics that the RRP has had little to no impact on reducing blood lead levels in at-risk population segments. An aggressive, targeted educational campaign, which explained the potential for lead exposure in older homes, and specific recommendations to protect children would have been much more effective,” says Walker.

AAMA continues to encourage members of the House and Senate to take this opportunity to look past the rhetoric, which assumes that all EPA rules are needed and effectively administered, and force EPA to provide substantive justification for this billion dollar rule. 

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