A proposed ASTM International standard could determine if a dust-lead hazard remains following clean-up of an activity that disturbs lead-based paint. If the standard is adopted, it could help resolve a long-standing point of contention between remodelers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) — the absence of an accurate test kit.

The proposed standard (WK52690, Practice for Clearance Examinations Following Lead Hazard Reduction Activities in Single Family Dwellings, in Individual Units of Multi-Family Dwellings, and in Other Child-Occupied Facilities) is being developed by ASTM Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings. According to ASTM International, the testing protocol has been shown to be highly accurate.

That could be good news for the door and window industry. The EPA’s controversial RRP Rule is currently under review, and debate has long focused on one of its most contentious aspect  — the lack of an accurate lead test kit. According to the EPA, approved lead test kits have a failure rate of between 22.5 percent and 84 percent, and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) says false positives have led to millions of dollars in extra costs for homeowners.

The rule requires any renovation work that disturbs more than six square feet of a pre-1978 home’s interior to follow rigorous and costly work practices to protect residents from exposure to lead, which is especially dangerous for young children. The work must be supervised by an EPA-certified renovator and performed by an EPA-certified renovation firm.

“After five years of experience with this rule, it is clear that EPA still has no intention of meeting the requirements of its own regulation,” WDMA president Michael O’Brien told DWM in a  statement in 2015. “EPA’s failure to produce an accurate test kit has created the need for costly alternatives to renovators and others in industry. The regulation continues to burden many homeowners with unnecessary costs due to faulty test kits.”

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