Washington, DC (July 15, 2011) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced changes to the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule today. Some changes ease the burden for contractors while others strengthen the rule’s health protectiveness. The changes are available online at www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/lrrpprepub.pdf.
NCHH Executive Director Rebecca Morley said, “Children’s health advocates are disheartened that EPA chose not to strengthen the rule and better protect kids by requiring clearance dust testing after renovation work. Nonetheless, our priority now is to ensure compliance with this important rule so that we can curtail the needless suffering for over a million U.S. children from this preventable disease.”
A summary of the significant changes announced by EPA includes:
Renovators must build a containment wall—a barrier consisting of plastic sheeting or other impermeable material over scaffolding or a rigid frame—to enclose an exterior work space and prevent the spread of lead dust outside of the area.
Uncertified workers should be trained by certified renovators in lead-safe work practices.
Certified renovators should ensure their workers maintain containment and do not spread dust or debris.
States may charge higher penalties for non-compliance with the rule.
Advocates are calling for EPA to step up its compliance and enforcement efforts. “Time’s up – it’s been over two years since EPA published this rule. Contractors simply can no longer feign ignorance of the rule’s requirements,” said Morley. Training has been offered widely in all 50 states, and 687,000 renovators have been trained. The time has come for EPA, states, and building code officials to crack down on contractors who have not applied for certification and especially those not following the rule.