Sunday, January 1, 2012

“Lead” -the new four letter word

The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s RRP Lead-Safe Rule, (TSCA) Section 402, which is now Federal Law, states that, as of April 22, 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, apartments, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. In addition, they must test for the presence of lead and have the home owner sign an affidavit stating they have received the EPA’s Renovate Right Pamphlet before any work begins.

Contractors across America are frustrated to say the least. In talking to a number of EPA Lead-safe certified renovators from Florida, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Kansas, the story sounds the same. First concern is the lack of public awareness concerning lead paint hazards in homes built before 1978. Most renovators say the EPA has not done enough to adequately educate the public, making them look like scammer’s trying to up sale and requiring the contractor to be the bearer of bad news ultimately and unfortunately making him look like the bad guy.

In one case, an uncertified contractor told a long time customer of an EPA certified renovator that he was lying and the rule does not apply in Florida. The truth is the RRP program rules apply to all US States, Tribes, and Territories as well as Guam and Puerto Rico. In another case, a home owner living in a home built in 1941 said “I looked around and many contractors I spoke with either would not deal with lead paint at all or said they would do the project without regard for the lead issues”.

A second concern as predicted by many construction industry associations, is that the rule would only be followed by credible licensed professionals. Others would ignore the law, encouraging unlicensed activity resulting in uncontained renovations exposing more children to hazardous lead dust. This now has the full attention of liability lawyers in every state across America. Another Contractor describes the reaction of real estate agents as like walking into a hornets nest. He said” They have flat out told me not to talk about the RRP rules or they will find someone else to recommend”. In other instances an insurance adjuster wanting to recommend his own contractors told a home owner that the rules did not apply to his 1951 home after a kitchen fire. He explained there were not enough square feet affected. The affected area was over 2,075 feet, much greater than the 6 Square feet limit set by the EPA’s RRP rule.

In a recent interview with an EPA RRP Lead-safe Renovator, we asked - How is the RRP rule affecting you?

He replied -it has its up and down sides. First let me say this rule if followed as the law requires does a load to protect children from lead poisoning, but it seem that the law makers gave little to no thought to the already
"un- level “ playing field the licensed contractor has faced for years. This has widened the road for unlicensed and uncertified activity, which we all know will expose children to hazardous lead dust. Like it or not, I believe the RRP lead safe rules are here to stay even with the grandiose talk about closing the EPA, I very seriously doubt any politician would commit political suicide by voting on record to endanger children and pregnant women. So until I get a letter hand - signed from the EPA stating the rule has been repealed, I will follow the Law. I don’t care if its 6 Square inches of lead paint being disturbed, everyone gets a pamphlet and every job gets contained.

1 comment:

  1. This is a fantastic blog, Good see a contractor who cares enough to protect children from lead poisoning
    while so many others just ignoring the danger. If you have kids you may want to visit