The U.S. National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said a need for more trainers and a faster certification process, along with inaccurate test kits and a lack of preparedness on the part of the EPA, could turn April 22's lead paint regulations into a speed bump for remodeling projects nationwide. NAHB has petitioned Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson to delay the Lead: Repair, Renovation and Painting Program Rule.
The rule, scheduled to become effective April 22, 2010, requires all remodelers and other contractors working in homes built before 1978 to be trained and certified in lead-safe work practices and to use those practices in homes where small children or pregnant women live. EPA is also seeking to amend the regulation so that it would apply to all pre-1978 homes.
“NAHB and its builder and remodeler members fully support with the goals of the rule, which is designed to protect children from the toxic effects of lead paint,” said NAHB Remodelers Chairman Donna Shirey, CGR, CAPS, CGP, and President of Shirey Contracting in Issaquah, WA.
“Remodelers are working hard to get trained and certified under the EPA’s lead rule. But we continue to receive calls that they can’t find training and are waiting to hear back from the EPA on certification. It’s incredibly frustrating that despite our diligence, remodelers will be penalized after April 22 because of the EPA’s failure to plan,” Shirey said.
The petition detailed four reasons why EPA should delay the rule under the “good cause” provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act:
• Lack of EPA-accredited trainers, which NAHB said comes from the EPA starting training only in late 2009. Six states have just 1-2 trainers; four states have no training providers.
• Not enough certified firms. Each company doing work in pre-1978 homes must be certified by EPA, but there were less than 2000 such firms as of mid-February, and NAHB said the EPA does not have the capacity to process applications fast enough to certify firms by April 22.
• Not enough certified renovators. EPA estimates 235,916 people must be certified as renovators, but in the first week of April 2010 it said less than 75,000 contractors had attended an approved training course.
• Inaccurate test kits. NAHB contends that commercially available test kits designed to ensure that there is no lead paint in the home are inaccurate between 42 -78% of the time.
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