EPA’s Lead Paint Rule – A Reaction from Builders Group – Sue EPA

The compliance deadline for EPA’s 2008 lead paint rule, requiring contractors engaged in renovations of pre-1978 residences, schools and childcare facilities to be certified by April 22, 2010 was extended in June of this year in response to industry and congressional outcry. The reprieve was not sufficient for everyone. On July 8, the National Association of Home Builders, joined by other industry groups, filed suit against EPA seeking review of the final rule. In particular, they challenged EPA’s removal of the opt-out provision from the final rule.

As originally drafted, the rule provided for opting out of the lead paint rules for homes where there were no children under the age of 6 years. In the final version, the opt-out provision has been removed. According to NAHB Chairman Bob Jones,

About 79 million homes are affected, even though EPA estimates that only 38 million homes contain lead-based paint. Removing the opt-out provision extends the rule to consumers who need no protection.

The additional requirements for lead safety add an average of $2,400 to a project. Apparently EPA changed the rule without any new scientific data indicating a need. In a tight economy, it seems counterproductive to increase the cost of renovations without a clear benefit.

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