Until the Environmental Protection Agncy (EPA) approves a reliable lead test (mandated in its own regulations), it will not be able to enforce its Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting rule (LRRP). This article from Indoor Environment Connections goes into greater detail about the regulation, which went into effect 22 April 2010.
The LRRP requires contractors, landlords, plumbers, remodelers, property managers, painters, window and floor installation professionals, and electricians who work with homes built before 1978 to be EPA-certified or face fines up to $37,500 per violation.
Yet, despite the intent of the LRRP (minimizing the spread of hazardous lead paint), the regulation continues to face repeated efforts by Congress to either water it down or kill it. To at least appease some of its detractors, the EPA announced it would not impose lead dust clearance as an addendum to the LRRP, which would have included expensive lead-dust sampling and laboratory analysis. It was concluded that enforcing additional testing would result in higher costs and cause more homeowners to attempt dangerous renovations themselves, which would not only put homeowners in harmful positions, but would also negatively impact certified contractors who would be unable to compete with rising remodeling costs.
Further opposition to the LRRP came in the form of The House appropriations amendment, sponsored by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), more commonly referred to as the Rehberg amendment. This amendment would lift the burden of LRRP compliance and its costs from thousands of consumers in homes that otherwise would have tested negative, because of unreliable test kits. The EPA, which was supposed to approve a lead test kit, which produced no more than 10% false positive and 5% false negative, has failed to do so. Instead, the test kits used today have been known to produce false positives as high as 60% of the time.
The Rehberg amendment has moved to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
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