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The EPA has done it again. This time with their lead†RRP Rule.

They take a known health risk like lead paint exposure and 33 years after lead paint stopped being used in homes (1978) the EPA†lumbers into action with what is known as the lead paint RRP Rule. The RRP Rule is technically called the "Lead; Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program"†and is intended to address lead based paint hazards created by activities from renovation, repair, and painting that disturb lead based paint in target housing and child-occupied facilities (for children under 6 years of age).

A laudable objective maybe sometime in the past 30 years, but now when the MINIMUM threshold of what the Center for Disease Control (CDC) considers an Elevated Blood Lead Level (EBLL)†of†children under 6 years has been reduced to less than 0.5%†of†all children under 6 years†(meaning the†problem is already†99.5% solved), the RRP Rule is a classic example of expensive government over-regulation and diminishing returns.

I explain all about this regulation that your home painting contractor may have to comply with in the tutorial: The new EPA Lead Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule.

Although the RRP Rule†went into effect April 22, 2010, the EPA is now flexing it's enforcement muscle. The price for non-compliance and not respecting the EPA's Authority? Try fines up to $37,500.00 per day per violation. One Rockland,†Maine contractor Colin Wentworth is now facing $150,000 in violations from the EPA.

The RRP Rule requires that contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects involving more than 6 square feet of painted surfaces in a room for interior projects or more than†20 square feet of painted surfaces for exterior projects or window replacement or demolition in target housing and child-occupied facilities built before 1978 to†follow very specific procedures. Now a project over 6 square feet†may be†treated like a haz mat situation. Thanks EPA!

These new procedures include certification of the contractor's company, certification and training of the contractor's staff, posting warning signs on the risk of lead poisoning, containing or enclosing the work area with plastic sheets (yes, they will end up in the landfill), use of special HEPA sanders and other equipment, preventing common paint removal tools such as heat guns, wetting down the work area, daily wet mopping, documentation and record keeping of how the Rule was adhered to and maintaining those records for 3 years in case of an EPA audit, "educating" the occupants of the home about the hazards and risks of lead paint exposure during construction and giving them an EPA brochure called The Lead-Safe Certified Guide to Renovate Right and so on.

So the same authority granted†EPA "Administrators" that allowed it to declare carbon dioxide an environmental pollutant yet encourages you to fill your home with neurotoxin mercury vapor filled CFL lamps through its energy Star division, is now declaring†with its new EPA rule, that drilling into your plaster wall which was painted†sometime in its history with lead paint,†creates a dangerous lead dust hazard...

No, I could not make this stuff up if I tried.
Learn about the new EPA Rule here.


June 12, 2011 at 11:43 am
(1) Denise says:

I live in St. Louis, MO, where the majority of houses within the city and county were built prior to 1975, and the prevalence of lead poisoning among children screened in ZIP code 63115, which includes the north city Penrose community, was 9.2% during 2006. This zip code was among those in St. Louis city with the highest screening prevalence rate of blood lead levels, according to the St. Louis Department of Healthís 2006 report (STL DOH, 2007). The continuing presence of deteriorating and condemned homes/buildings, and extensive home remodeling in restored Penrose residential areas, leads to the danger of children ingesting and breathing lead particles as of right now. So, EPA is right in addressing this issue in this city.

Homerepair Response:
Denise, I understand your point. However, here is a link to the CDC report showing Number of Children Tested and Confirmed EBLLs by State, Year, and BLL Group, Children < 72 Months Old. In Missouri the EBLLs as % of Children Tested was over 12% in 1997. In 2007 it stood at 1.06%, all without EPA involvement. That is my point. St. Louis or any other local municipality can require any additional requirements they want for extra lead abatement protection, it does not need Federal Government action of the kind the EPA has implemented to solve remaining pockets of housing stock like you mention.

June 12, 2011 at 5:06 pm
(2) POPS says:

My employer paid for me to go to a class on this to become licensed. The instructor told us that they are finding out that the most violent criminals in our prisons have high amounts of lead in there systems. This is no Joke. Test your working area,and wear your protective clothes.

Homerepair Response:
POPS, no one said it is a joke or that lead paint was not a problem. I’m saying a useful EPA response would have been 30 years or 20 years ago and this Rule is an overkill regulation to a problem that OSHA, responsible contractors, and 30 years of lead paint non-use is solving. This CDC chart shows you how diminished of a problem this was as of 4 years ago.

There have been studies that have seen a relationship in crime tied to lead poisoning from lead gasoline and lead paint in the 1970′s and before. This is an interesting article that talks about how violent crime rate tracks lead poisoning levels two decades earlier. Analysis by Rick Nevin show what he feels is a relationship between early childhood lead exposure and criminal behavior later in life. With the very low lead poisoning of children today we should continue to see decreased violent criminal activity in the future.

June 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm
(3) JustinC says:

Gotta love big government… I wonder where the federal government found their enumerated power for this in the constitution.

Homerepair Response:
Congress passed a law in 1976 called the Toxic Substances Control Act and later passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 (Title X) both of which which the EPA uses as the basis for its authority in its new Lead RRP Rule effective April 2010. The EPA Administrator (not Congress) then decides what is a lead hazard that could result in health risk (per the EPA):

“The term “lead-based paint hazard” is defined in TSCA section 401 as “any condition that causes exposure to lead from lead-contaminated dust . . . that would result in adverse human health effects as established by the Administrator under this subchapter.”

June 14, 2011 at 9:59 am
(4) Denny In Dayton says:

The real joke is I looked up the EPA’s Economic Impact Study study that was done as required under NEPA, where they came to a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). They gave 3 alternatives for the rule, and chose mostly the “middle” rule. The Sierra Club has been pushing to instate the stricter rules which would include having to hire an outside tester to test after cleanup. The economic study claimed the stricter rule would only add about $230 dollars to a full kitchen remodel, the outside testing alone would cost $500 in the real world! Total impact might be closer to $2000! Junk science at it’s best!

Oh and according to the study the EPA expects a revenue stream of about 16 million a year from the licensing fees, how about that?

Homerepair Response:
Denny, you are correct. The EPA has used unrealistically low “costs” like $8 per project to implement the Rule as part of the promotion of the regulation. In my tutorial on the 3rd page I talk about Costs of Implementing the EPA RRP Rule, near the bottom. In that paragraph I mention how this Rule is changing the risks renovation and painting contractors assume and increasing the costs of simple home repair projects.

Remodeling Magazine did a great cost analysis I mention in the tutorial called How Much Will the RRP Cost? As opposed to the low of $8 per project the EPA claimed, it was found that real world costs to comply with this Rule will increase home renovation projects between $1,300-$2,200 more for a $10,000 remodel like a bathroom. That’s just for an Interior project. Exterior projects are even higher because of the vertical containment that can be required. The unintended consequence (although a very easily predictable consequence) is that non-compliant contractors will now have a competitive pricing advantage over those contractors that do comply and bear the extra costs.

June 14, 2011 at 10:26 am
(5) Niles says:

Simply put, these rules are about EPA creating its own continuous revenue stream of fines, fees, penalties and so on. Anyone unwilling to recognize this tyranny is either a dope or is a paid shill for the EPA crawling around sites like this to fight reasonable perceptions. If you are one of these people, please tell me where in the Constitution of the United States the authority for this tyranny issues.

June 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm
(6) Patrick says:

I live in a micro town in south western NJ. 2.1 square miles, 11 SuperFund sites. We have a site that has been noted to have a drainage ditch that discharges lead into the Delaware River. The EPA took the site off the CIRCLA list and stuck the taxpayers with the remediation bill while their politicos brokered deals to take BP off the hook for the site cleanup. The extent of the clean up? Gonna dump 10 million cubic yards of wet dredge over it!!! 700ft below the site is the local aquifer ground water is already polluted due to the refinery that was on it in the 1920′s … The EPA can kiss my …….

June 16, 2011 at 5:19 pm
(7) troy says:

I to live in st. louis mo and the proplem here is not the lead in the old paint but in the old lead water lines. I am also a contractor and have first hand info on this scam

February 16, 2013 at 11:56 am
(8) Owen Steere says:

I sure hope every contractor has considered contacting their congressional representatives, and governors about the ridiculousness of all this but I doubt that most of them have. The environmental movement has brought back the bald eagle and given us less polluting cars but how we contractors and tradespeople then must go about our business has clearly not been thought through at times. The ham handedness and sheer stupidity of the LRRR in proportion to the problem appears to indicate the lack of voice that real world contractors should have had in crafting policy. As an individual who has been in residential remodel since 1984 I have always been careful to protect my customers and myself from lead and other hazards. I have had as clients pediatricians, family practice and other physicians with children and I make it a point to ask them what they see in their own practices. Without exception they tell me that lead problems are rare and happen only in exceptional cases where the contractor was exceptionally sloppy or more likely that hubby homeowner gets a new belt sander for xmas. Therefore it is doubtful that there is any science to support a case that standard practice common sense jobsite hygene pre LRRR was not adequate already. No decent contractor that I know could even expect to stay in business without a common sense attitude toward cleanliness on the job site. The underestimate of cost of this rule is shocking to not just me I am sure. If you haven’t contacted your elected representatives about this it is time you did now!

July 18, 2013 at 11:32 pm
(9) Dan says:

I am utility/excavation/demolish contractor in Minneapolis; lead water service lines have to be much more of an issue than lead paint since lead leaches into water and bio accumulates in our systems. But, at the end of the day these laws were passed so some lobbyist (shall i say union) could call lead abatement a skilled trade to make more money. Down with Small Business!!! Personally, I wear a respirator when working in my 1900′s house, and make it a point to have common sense when dealing with lead paint. Lead paint is not friable like asbestos. But hey, letís get that unemployment rate down.

Whatís next…….. Daycare (Iím quitting my job then to have babies)

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