D.C. Hotline: Legislation would reform EPA lead rule

By Ben Gann, director of legislative affairs, NLBMDA

The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act reforms the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) rule by restoring the opt-out clause and suspending the rule if the EPA cannot approve a commercially available test kit that meets the regulation’s requirements.

The rule took effect in April 2010 and requires remodeling firms performing work on pre-1978 housing to be EPA-certified and follow costly work practices. Originally, the rule protected pregnant women and children under six from lead hazards, a position the NLBMDA strongly supports. However, in July 2010, EPA removed the opt-out provision from the rule preventing homeowners without children under age six or pregnant women to forego the use of lead-safe work practices. Moreover, none of the EPA-approved lead paint test kits currently available meets the standard for false positives required by the rule.

In March, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, introduced a Senate version of the bill (S. 2148). The Senate bill currently has 12 cosponsors. Then in June, Reps. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) and Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) introduced a House version of the bill, which now has 22 cosponsors.

Passage of the legislation is a top priority for NLBMDA. We continue to receive positive feedback from congressional offices and encourage lumber and building material dealers to contact their members of Congress asking them to cosponsor H.R. 5911/S. 2148.