Lead paint: EPA won't require post-project clearance testing

Citing concerns over cost, EPA won't require third-party clearance testing for pre-1978 remodels

July 15, 2011

In a major victory for remodelers, the EPA has decided not to require third-party testing as part of its LRRP lead paint rules.

The EPA announced the decision late today. Third-party clearance testing was added to the rule as part of a settlement of litigation with the Sierra Club and other groups in 2009 and was scheduled to take effect this year. The rule would have required remodelers to collect samples after the project was completed and send them to a lab for testing. There are currently only a small number of labs equipped for the tests, leading to concerns about cost and wait times for results.

The removal of the opt-out provision, also part of that settlement, is not affected by today's announcement.

From the EPA:

“After carefully weighing all available information and considering the public comments, EPA has concluded it is not necessary to impose new lead-dust sampling and laboratory analysis, known as the clearance requirements, as part of the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) rule.  The Agency believes that the existing lead-safe work practices and clean up requirements -- which went into place in 2010 -- will protect people from lead dust hazards created during renovations jobs without the need for additional clearance requirements.”

Industry associations were quick to applaud the move, something they have lobbied for ever since the proposed change was announced.

"We're pleased that the EPA listened to the concerns of remodelers about the extreme costs the proposed clearance testing would have imposed,"  said Bob Peterson, chairman of the NAHB Remodelers chair "Home owners are saved from spending a great deal of money on lead testing. If remodeling is more affordable, home owners
will be able to hire an EPA-certified renovator to keep them safe from lead dust hazards during renovation."

This follow's the news earlier this week that a U.S. House committee had voted to de-fund EPA's enforcement of lead paint regulations until an effective test is put in place.

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