EPA Will Not Require Lead Paint Clearance Testing; AGC's Work Pays Off

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided against expanding its Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) rule to include lead-dust sampling and clearance testing requirements, the Agency announced on July 15AGC played a key role in communicating the construction industry’s concerns with the proposed “clearance testing” requirements.  AGC worked alongside a coalition of real estate and development groups to present a collective industry voice that has led EPA to refrain from straddling contractors with costly and unnecessary dust wipe sampling and laboratory analysis requirements. 

After reviewing AGC’s and other public comments and available science, EPA has abandoned its plan to require contractors to test dust to prove the absence of lead following construction projects covered by the federal LRRP rule. AGC praises EPA for rightly recognizing that the existing lead-safe work practices and clean up requirements under the LRRP rule — which just became fully implemented in April 2010 — will protect people from any lead dust created during renovation jobs, without the need for additional costly clearance requirements.

EPA had agreed to complete a final rule addressing the “clearance testing” issue by July 15 as part of an agreement to settlement litigation with the Sierra Club and other petitioners over certain post-renovation cleaning requirements of the current LRRP rule.

The current LRRP rule requires businesses that repair or renovate older buildings — specifically homes, schools and daycare centers built prior to 1978 — to adhere to strict lead-safe work practices.  Contractors currently are required to wipe down disturbed surfaces after the work is complete and match the result to an EPA-approved card to determine whether lead paint dust is present.  The proposal shot down this month would have required contractors to take additional steps to demonstrate that dust-lead levels remaining in the work area are below regulatory levels.

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