Information on Lead-Based Paint Rule
April 29, 2010
Posted by Matt Dempsey email@example.com
Information on Lead-Based Paint Rule
The Environmental Protection Agency's "Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting" (Lead RRP) rule went into effect on April 22, 2010. The rule is designed to help reduce lead exposure to pregnant women and children from dust caused by renovations. Unfortunately, the implementation of the rule has caused a lot of confusion from constituents - including homeowners, landlords, renovators, and contractors - throughout Oklahoma and nation.
In an effort to help provide answers for constituents, Senator Inhofe has created this webpage.
The new rule applies to renovations in homes built before 1978 and that disturb more than six square feet of paint. These renovations must be supervised by a certified renovator and conducted by a certified renovation firm. In order to become certified, contractors must submit an application - with a fee - to EPA, and complete a training course for instruction on lead-safe work practices.
Yet, as of April 22, 2010, EPA reports that it has accredited only 204 training providers nationwide, which falls far short of what is sufficient to meet high demand for such providers. I remain deeply concerned that, without quick access to accurate information and training, renovators will be unable to properly do their jobs and pregnant women and children will not receive the health benefits of this rule.
Lead Based Paint courses for EPA and DEQ certification are now being offered by Metro Tech (Oklahoma). To view the class schedule and enroll please click here.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office at (202) 224-6176, or EPA's Office of Congressional Affairs (202) 564- 5200.
To help people become more informed, I want to make you aware of the following websites:
Information on Lead for Everyone:
Information regarding the Lead RRP rule on EPA's website:
Information about all EPA's lead programs:
The Federal Register notice for the rule (April 22, 2008):
Link to Federal Resister notice for opt-out provision removal on RRP rule (May 06, 2010):
Pollution Prevention and Toxics Frequently Asked Questions with answers:
HUD Lead page:
For lead-based paint certified training classes in Oklahoma, contact:
City of Tulsa
175 E 2nd St, Suite 580
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74103
Metro Technology Centers
National Econ Corporation
Read More About Senator Inhofe's Work on The Rule:
Inhofe Floor Speech: Holding EPA Accountable on Lead-Based Paint Rule (09/28/10) - Mr. President - I would like to take a few minutes today to speak about the importance of oversight. As you may recall, on April 22, 2010, EPA's new lead-based paint rule, the Lead, Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, went into effect. At that time, homeowners, contractors, landlords, plumbers, and many others were trying to get more information about the rule that, in most cases, they had just learned about. This rule affects anyone who owns or lives in a home built before 1978 and is looking to do a renovation. Specifically, the rule requires that renovations in homes that disturb more than six square feet be supervised by a certified renovator and conducted by a certified renovation firm. In order to become certified, contractors must submit an application - with a fee - to EPA, and complete a training course for instruction on lead-safe work practices. Those who violate the rule could face a fine of $37,500 a day.
Tulsa World: EPA fines still possible despite renovator reprieve (06/22/10) - U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., who helped lead the charge for the enforcement delay, released a letter Tuesday calling on EPA to extend its public comment period on a proposal to apply lead-safe work practices to renovations on public and commercial buildings as well. In a letter to Steve Owens, assistant administrator in EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Inhofe said public and commercial buildings will present an array of different issues. In order to gain a full understanding of the proposal's potential effects, he said, EPA needs a robust public comment period.
E&E News: Inhofe seeks more comment time on commercial paint rules (06/22/10) - Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) yesterday asked U.S. EPA to extend the period for public comment on its proposed lead-paint rules for commercial buildings, signaling that the agency's recent move to delay a similar rule for residential properties has not allayed congressional concern over the issue. In calling for an additional 60 days of comment on the pending commercial lead-paint rules, Inhofe -- the senior Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee -- said past federal actions against lead-paint poisoning have focused on a smaller group of Americans than the new rule would potentially affect. "Previous lead paint programs have focused on high-need subpopulations, such as pregnant women and children, and residential buildings," Inhofe wrote to Stephen Owens, assistant EPA administrator in the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. "Public and commercial buildings will present an array of different issues." Inhofe's letter opens a new chapter in the clash over EPA's residential lead-paint rule, which culminated late Friday in a memo that directed regional enforcement offices not to enforce an April certification requirement for contractors.
EPA Lead-Based Paint Announcement Great News For Oklahoma (06/18/10) - Washington, D.C. - U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today welcomed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) announcement issuing a memorandum extending the EPA's Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule deadline for renovators to enroll in training classes to September 30, 2010. In addition, it has extended the deadline for contractors to complete training to December 31, 2010, and most importantly the agency has agreed to work to provide additional trainers in areas of need. "I am pleased that the EPA listened to the clear bipartisan message sent by the Senate that the implementation of the lead-based paint rule was a disaster," Inhofe said. "EPA has finally recognized the extreme difficulty in obtaining certification and worker renovation training. Thanks to the efforts of my colleagues, EPA has now promised to allow additional and sufficient time for workers to obtain the necessary training and certification to comply with the rule. This is exactly the kind of oversight and accountability that Congress should provide. I am pleased to have worked with Senators Collins, Alexander, Vitter, Coburn and others to shine light on this important issue. I will continue to work with my colleagues and the EPA to ensure that we get this rule fully implemented as soon as possible and realize the health benefits of the rule as quickly as possible."
Inhofe Pushing For Passage of Legislation:
- The Senate adopted on a 60-37 vote a measure sponsored by Republican Sens. James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Susan Collins of Maine to prevent EPA from imposing a "levy against any person [or] any fine, or to hold any person liable for construction or renovation work" as a result of Lead RRP. For the time being, the EPA has bigger concerns than fighting Congress over implementation of the Lead RRP regulation. For example, EPA recently ordered BP to use a less toxic oil dispersant without knowing beforehand that none currently exists. (Washington Examiner Editorial - June 04, 2010)
- For months, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., has helped lead efforts on the EPA's implementation of the rule, which has sparked both concern and controversy in Oklahoma. "Today's vote shows there is overwhelming bipartisan concern about the disastrous implementation of EPA's lead-based paint rule,'' Inhofe said. Citing what he called widespread confusion with the rule's implementation, he also called for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to hold a hearing on the matter. Inhofe serves as the top Republican on that panel. (Tulsa World - May 27, 2010)
- "But many in the industry -- and supportive lawmakers -- are concerned that the rule is being implemented without adequate available training resources. Some, such as Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), have been pushing for a one-year delay in order to provide more time to certify renovators as required by the rule. Collins previously considered introducing an amendment to withhold EPA funds for enforcing the rule, but held off after Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) vowed at a May 13 Senate Appropriations Committee markup to work with Collins to provide relief to the contractors affected by the rule." (Inside EPA - May 25, 2010)
- "But Sen. James Inhofe has inserted an amendment to address what he sees as problems associated with lead-paint removal regulations. The Oklahoma Republican has drafted language to stall enforcement of an Environmental Protection Agency rule that requires special instruction and certification for contractors who remove lead paint. In Oklahoma, where he lives in a 75-year-old lead-painted house, no such instructors exist. His amendment would delay the rule until every state has training programs. Asked how the amendment was connected with Congress's response to the financial crisis, Mr. Inhofe said, 'It's not! That's the point.' This whole lead paint thing is 'a mess,' he said, 'so anything we can put this in, we will.'" (WSJ - May 19, 2010)
- "Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., for instance, wants to add an amendment that would postpone a new federal rule requiring government certification for contractors who remove lead paint because there aren't enough courses to train such people. The amendment isn't an effort to delay the banking bill, said Inhofe spokesman Matt Dempsey. Then why attach it to this bill? 'Our ability to raise awareness is more limited as Republicans,' Dempsey said, because the minority party can't call hearings and doesn't control what's taken up on the Senate floor. 'You have to look for opportunities.'" (Miami Herald - May 5, 2010)
Inhofe Will Continue to Press EPA on Lead Rule (04/22/10) - WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today said he would continue to put pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to better educate consumers about EPA's "Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule," and expedite the process of getting more contractors certified. EPA's rule went into effect today in the face of numerous concerns expressed by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Tulsa World: Oklahomans urge Sunstein to delay rule (04/22/10) - During that meeting, the senator placed a call to Cass Sunstein of the administration's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Paul Kane, executive vice president and CEO of the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa, laid out for Sunstein the group's concerns. Kane explained the difficulty local contractors are having in getting certified, adding that only one trainer in the entire state of Oklahoma has been certified and that that person has been certified for only a few weeks. Moreover, he told Sunstein, that person is not offering training to the public but is limiting his classes to his own organization. Inhofe was impressed with Sunstein's responses, saying he sounded open to stepping in with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to discuss ways to delay the rule's effective date.
Senators Send Bipartisan Letter Urging EPA Action on Lead Rule (03/26/10) - WASHINGTON, DC - Several United States Senators last night sent a bipartisan letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) urging OMB to ensure compliance with EPA's Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule. The Senators wrote, "We strongly urge OMB to take whatever actions necessary in the next 26 days to ensure that when this rule goes into effect, there are enough certified renovators available to meet the compliance goals of the rule."
Headlines on Lead-Based Paint Rule From Around the Country
Tulsa World: EPA fines still possible despite renovator reprieve (06/22/10) - Renovators and others given a reprieve on getting certified to work on older homes with lead paint could still be fined if they fail to follow lead-safe work practices, a federal agency said Tuesday. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also confirmed those fines could be as high as $37,500 per day. "The guidance states that EPA will continue to pursue enforcement action to ensure that all contractors follow the lead-safe work practices outlined in the rule,'' the agency stated in comments provided to the press. "They include best practices such as dust control, site cleanup and work area containment.'' According to EPA, no one has been fined so far for violating the rule, which became effective on April 22. Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, referenced the lead-safe work practices in a memorandum she wrote to delay enforcement of the portion of the rule requiring renovators and others working on homes with lead paint to become trained and certified. No one with EPA was made available to respond to questions when a group of senators announced the Giles memo last week to the press. Targeting homes built before 1978, the rule was first proposed in 2006 and was made final in 2008 with a 2010 effective date. Still, many contractors and others who work on homes say they were caught by surprise by the rule and were left scrambling to become certified. EPA drew fire for what critics saw as a botched job in implementing the rule. Specifically, the agency was criticized for not ensuring enough trainers and classes were available to handle the demand for certification. After initialing standing by its effective date, EPA agreed to delay the enforcement of the certification portion of rules until Oct. 1. Enforcement also will be put off for those who have applied or enrolled in a class by Sept. 30 and complete that training by Dec. 31. U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., who helped lead the charge for the enforcement delay, released a letter Tuesday calling on EPA to extend its public comment period on a proposal to apply lead-safe work practices to renovations on public and commercial buildings as well. In a letter to Steve Owens, assistant administrator in EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Inhofe said public and commercial buildings will present an array of different issues. In order to gain a full understanding of the proposal's potential effects, he said, EPA needs a robust public comment period. He called on the agency to extend the public comment period, which now ends July 6, another 60 days.
WSJ: EPA to Delay Enforcing Lead-Paint Regulation (06/22/10) - WASHINGTON—The Environmental Protection Agency has decided to delay enforcing a new lead-paint regulation following pressure from home builders and members of Congress. The rule would require contractors who work in older homes to become certified by a government-approved trainer and follow a series of safety precautions. The delay follows an outcry from businesses and trade groups, including the National Association of Home Builders, Home Depot Inc. and Lowe's Cos., as well as lawmakers in both parties. Industry groups charged the regulation would drive up costs and expose contractors to fines and litigation. Some also contended the regulation could derail Washington's efforts to promote energy efficiency because EPA has not approved enough instructors for the required training programs.
AP: EPA extends deadline for lead paint training (06/21/10) - WASHINGTON — Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, senior Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, hailed the delay. "We won," Inhofe said, referring to industry groups and lawmakers who had pushed the EPA to back off its earlier deadline for enforcement of the rule. Inhofe said he supports the lead paint rule, but he called the EPA's handling of the issue a "disaster."
Tulsa World: EPA delays enforcing lead-paint removal rule (06/19/10) - U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe declared victory Friday in his months-long effort to provide relief to home renovators and others still scrambling to meet a federal agency's certification rules on lead-paint removal. "I am very happy right now,'' the Oklahoma Republican said. "We won.'' Inhofe based his comments on a memo apparently from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency delaying enforcement of its own rule targeting work on homes built before 1978. "Since the RRP (Renovation, Repair and Painting) Rule became effective on April 22, 2010, concerns have been raised by the regulated community regarding difficulties experienced in obtaining the rule required firm certification and renovation worker training,'' Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles states in the memo provided by Senate staff. Giles explained that the agency will not take enforcement action for violations of the certification rule until Oct. 1. Enforcement, she writes, also will be put off for renovation workers who have applied or enrolled in a class by Sept. 30 and who complete that training by Dec. 31.
Tulsa World: Contractors Making Changes (06/09/10) - Ken Saltink, president of the Remodelers Council at the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa, said Tulsa finally has an official trainer who can provide certification on the lead paint rule. The trainer, Brant Pitchford, offers certification classes via the association twice monthly. Saltink said Pitchford charges $125 per class for HBA members and $185 for non-members, but other trainers may have different fees. "There's a real need for the classes, given the stock of older houses we have here," Saltink said. While there were widespread complaints about a lack of trainers in the area before the rule went into effect April 22, Saltink said most of the 100-plus members of the remodelers council have gotten certification — although they mostly represent larger remodeling companies.
WSJ: What New Lead-Paint Law Means for Homeowners (05/18/10) - Contractors say it's likely that some of their competitors will take the risk of violating the ruling in order to charge less. While failure to comply with the ruling could result in fines up to $37,500 a day, a spokesman for the EPA says the government agency's only method of enforcement is to investigate tips and complaints to its hotline, 800-424-LEAD. Homeowners should also note that some home-renovation workers may not yet be educated in lead-safe practices due to a shortage of instructors. Earlier this month, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), introduced a bill to delay the implementation of EPA's lead rule until classes have been held in a state for at least one year.
Tulsa World: Contractors seek training to comply with EPA rule (05/09/10) - As some lawmakers continue to review options on a controversial rule on potentially hazardous lead-based paint, more classes are being offered in the Tulsa area to help meet the needs of local contractors and others desperately seeking certification for work on pre-1978 homes. Tulsa Technology Center has begun enrollment for classes scheduled next month. Put in place by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the rule requiring lead-safe practices for renovation work kicked in late last month but continues to cause concerns for some. Local businesses have been scrambling for weeks to obtain training.
Tulsa World: CareerTech to help train contractors on EPA rules (5/2/10) - WASHINGTON - While uncertainty continues to surround a new federal rule on lead paint, at least some relief appeared to be on the way for Oklahoma contractors desperate to be certified for work on older homes. Several CareerTech centers have either stepped up or are considering doing so to offer the much-needed training by contracting with out-of-state firms. Maria Doa, director of the National Program Chemicals Division at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, confirmed that Metro Technology Centers in Oklahoma City became only the second agency in the state to be certified to teach the course.
Inside EPA: Bid To Delay Lead Paint Rules (05/05/10) - Congressional Republicans are spearheading efforts to force EPA to delay implementing new rules aimed at limiting lead dust exposure from home repair projects, backing industry concerns that not enough contractors have been trained to comply with the new rules. The agency April 22 implemented the lead renovation, repair and painting (LRRP) rule, which requires contractors working on homes, childcare facilities and schools built before 1978 to receive certification to use specific work practices designed to prevent lead contamination. The same day, EPA finalized a modification to the rule removing an "opt-out" provision that would have allowed contractors to avoid those requirements for work on pre-1978 homes that did not have young children or pregnant women living in them.
Tulsa World : Contractors scramble to get training mandated by new lead paint rules (04/20/10) - Owners of older homes planning renovations might have a hard time finding workers because many contractors are scrambling to comply with a new EPA rule on lead paint. The problem is that not enough trainers are available to certify all the contractors for the new Environmental Protection Agency regulations, said Ken Saltink, president of the Remodelers Council of the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa and head of All American Remodel. The new rules go into effect Thursday.
Great Falls Tribune: Rehberg seeks to delay EPA lead rule (04/20/10) - HELENA - Beginning Wednesday Montana contractors will have to follow strict new federal guidelines when renovating older homes. The Environmental Protection Agency's new lead rule requires contractors working on any house or building built before 1978 to take extra precautions to minimize the potential health hazards associated with lead paint dust or debris. The rule requires contractors to become Lead-Safe Certified by April 22. Violating the rule could lead to fines of up to $32,000 per day. Last month Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg led a bipartisan group of House members in urging the White House Office of Management and Budget to delay implementation of the rule in order to give contractors more time to comply.
The Joplin Globe: Contractors worry about EPA rules for older buildings (04/20/10) - JOPLIN, Mo - Local contractors on Monday told U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., that a new federal regulation could be ruinous for their industry. The regulation, designed to reduce the risk of lead poisoning in children, will require contractors doing work in pre-1978 housing and other "child-occupied" buildings to be trained and certified by the Environmental Protection Agency for prevention of lead contamination. Child-occupied buildings are defined as residential, public or commercial buildings where children under 6 are regularly present, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The rule applies to renovation, repair and painting. Work in places where less than six square feet of lead-based paint in a room is disturbed - excluding window replacement - is exempt, according to the agency.
Minnesota Public Radio: Thousands of Minn. contractors will miss EPA's lead deadline (04/19/10) - St. Paul, Minn. - Thousands of Minnesota contractors will miss a deadline this week for becoming certified in techniques that minimize the amount of lead dust generated during projects. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires an eight-hour training course for anyone working in homes or other buildings constructed before 1978, the year people stopped using paint containing the neurotoxin. The deadline for getting trained is Thursday, but contractors and training program instructors say only a fraction of Minnesota contractors will be certified by then. The EPA plans to enforce the rules by acting on complaints and tips from property owners and contractors who are following the rules, and those who don't comply could face hefty fines. But it's also likely that with so few certified contractors, Minnesotans having work done on their older homes could continue to be put at risk, especially if they have children. The cost of the training plus the increased cost to complete jobs under the new lead rules are one reason some contractors have put off getting certified.
News 8 Austin: New EPA lead-based paint rules could cost contractors (04/17/10) - Come Thursday, contractors who perform projects that disturb more than 6 feet of lead-based paint will have to train up or pay up. Under the new federal law, those who renovate, repair or paint certain buildings built prior to 1978 will have to be certified to do so. This new law is part of a rule the Environmental Protection Agency issued in April 2008, which required contractors to use lead-safe work practices. These efforts were in an attempt to prevent lead poisoning in children. The Heart of Texas Builders Association in Waco offers certification classes. President Ken Cooper said there has not been a shortage of interest in the certification classes.
WashPost: EPA rules on lead paint in home renovations will soon take effect (04/17/10) - Hiring someone to renovate your older home is about to become more complicated and expensive. Starting on Earth Day, April 22, contractors working on almost all homes built before 1978 must prove they have the Environmental Protection Agency's stamp of approval to do the work -- or face fines of up to $37,500 a day. A new federal rule aimed at reducing exposure to toxic lead-paint chips and dust requires renovators to be trained and certified in EPA-approved methods of containing and cleaning up work areas. "We're scrambling to learn the procedures as quickly as we can," said contractor Ethan Landis of Landis Construction in the District. On Friday, he and three of his project managers were scheduled to learn the methods during an all-day course run by the Connor Institute in Gaithersburg, for $225 each. "Now that the deadline is here, the real costs are going to become evident," Landis said. "There is a huge upfront cost just for training alone."
The Plain Dealer: Remodeling costs could jump next week because of new federal rule, contractors say (04/15/10) - If your home was built before 1978, your contractor might have to proceed much more cautiously as of next Thursday, April 22, because of a new federal regulation to guard against lead paint dust. Contractors who install windows or bathrooms say they might have to wear protective outfits and respirators, and bring thick plastic sheeting and special vacuum cleaners with heavy-duty filters for routine jobs. Roofing crews could wind up dressing like HazMat teams if eaves or roof vents with lead paint must be replaced, sanded or repaired. Contractors across the country contend that these precautions, as well as the time it will take to suit up and follow the new rules, will drive up the cost of home repairs. A $5,000 window-replacement job could cost $1,500 more, said several contractors. "It's a big cost," said Richard Kasunic of Macedonia, a window installation specialist with crews across Cleveland. "Huge."
NPR: Home Contractors Brace For Lead Paint Rules (04/14/10) - It's the deadline for contractors to obtain certification that they're trained to work in homes that contain lead paint. Lead was a standard ingredient in paint until 1978, when the government banned the sale of lead paint for use in residences because of the danger to children. Any home built before then is likely to have lead paint. With the deadline fast approaching, the industry isn't trying to block the rules, but it would like a delay. Charlie Dorsey, a regional sales manager for Gorell Windows and Doors, says the vast majority of contractors didn't know these new rules were coming until recently. He says only around 5 percent of contractors have taken the classes to get certified.
Tulsa World: Home renovations may hit a wall (04/13/10) - Oklahomans hoping to have older homes remodeled or even worked on could see projects come to a standstill or even be canceled because of a federal rule designed to protect children from lead poisoning. That's the warning from state homebuilders. They blame the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to get the word out on a rule that takes effect next week requiring lead-safe practices to be used for renovations of pre-1978 homes, child-care facilities and school buildings. They also claim the EPA has not even certified one trainer for the entire state of Oklahoma. An EPA spokesman dismissed such concerns, saying local firms have had two years to get ready for the new rule.
Chicago Daily Herald: New EPA rules impact work in homes built before 1978 (04/11/10) - Painting, renovations and even window replacements in homes built before 1978 may slow to a crawl after April 22, thanks to a new Environmental Protection Agency rule that goes into effect that day. The problem is that many painters and contractors remain untrained and, therefore, uncertified, in the new EPA requirements. Construction delays may occur even though the EPA has publicized the pending rule change through trade organizations, unions, trade magazines, permitting organizations and retailers who cater to contractors, since the law's passage in April of 2008. Those who do not possess the certification on April 22 can't disturb more than six square feet of painted interior wall, or more than 20 square feet of painted exterior walls, in pre-1978 homes until they go through the necessary training. Both a worker and the company must receive the new EPA certifications.
NYT: Rule on Lead Safety Set to Take Effect (04/08/10) - After almost two decades of delays, the Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday that it was on track to implement a regulation requiring the construction industry to help prevent cases of lead poisoning among children. The agency said it expected more than 125,000 renovation and remodeling contractors to be trained and certified in lead-safe work practices by April 22, when the new regulation takes effect. Under the rule, workers would have to take steps like containing their work area with plastic and conducting a thorough cleanup of lead paint dust stirred up during construction activity, which federal officials say is partly to blame for about 120,000 cases of elevated lead levels in children younger than 6 each year. Congress passed legislation in 1992 directing the E.P.A. to propose the regulation, but the agency did not finish the rule until 2008, after environmental and public interest groups filed a lawsuit to pressure the agency to issue it.
USA Today: EPA lead rule will cover more than half of U.S. homes (04/07/10) - More than half of U.S. homes could soon be affected by a little-known federal rule to reduce lead exposure. On April 22, the Environmental Protection Agency will begin requiring that contractors who work on pre-1978 homes be certified in lead-safe practices or face daily fines of up to $37,500. "We want people to take it seriously," the EPA's Wendy Hamnett says about the new rule to prevent lead-caused health problems. It will apply to plumbers, carpenters and other remodelers if their work disturbs lead-based paint. Fines apply to untrained workers, not the homeowners who hire them. "It is a huge step forward. It's long overdue," says Rebecca Morley, executive director of the National Center for Healthy Housing, a private group. Yet most people don't know about the rule, and the EPA should have done a better job at informing them, Morley says. Many remodelers haven't been certified, and homeowners may unknowingly hire less expensive, untrained workers, says Matt Watkins of the National Association of Home Builders.
WSJ: Rule on Lead Dust Sets Off Scramble (03/27/10) - Industry Groups Say Too Few Remodelers Will Be Certified in Time for April 22 Regulation Aimed at Protecting Children . Professional home remodelers across the U.S. are scrambling to comply with a new federal regulation that supporters say will shield children from lead poisoning but which industry groups say will drive up costs, unfairly expose them to fines and litigation and potentially undercut Washington's efforts to promote energy efficiency. The regulation, which takes effect next month and could affect millions of U.S. homes, seeks to reduce the amount of lead dust created during home renovations and repairs. Contractors who work in older homes will be required to become certified by a government-approved trainer and follow certain precautions, such as covering floors with plastic sheeting and dressing workers in protective clothing.