Washington, D.C. — The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) commends the introduction of bipartisan legislation today in the U.S. House of Representatives that would reform the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule to reduce the burden the rule has placed on the home retrofit market while protecting pregnant women and small children from lead hazards. The "Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012" (H.R. 5911) was introduced by Reps. John Sullivan (R-OK) and Tim Murphy (R-PA) and nine cosponsors. WDMA has been working toward introduction of the the legislation in the House following the introduction of a Senate bill (S.2148) in March.
"Since the EPA Lead Rule took effect in April 2010, EPA has expanded the rule beyond its original goal of protecting pregnant women and small children while mismanaging the implementation of the rule and failing to meet its own requirements to produce an accurate test kit," said WDMA President Michael O'Brien. "The Sullivan-Murphy bill is a common-sense response which will refocus efforts on protecting pregnant woman and small children and we applaud Congressmen Sullivan and Murphy for their leadership on this issue."
The LRRP rule requires renovation work that disturbs more than six square feet on the interior of a pre-1978 home and all window and door replacement to follow rigorous and costly work practices supervised by an EPA-certified renovator and requires that it be performed by an EPA-certified renovation firm. In July 2010, EPA removed the "opt-out provision" from the rule which allowed homeowners without children under six or pregnant women residing in the home to allow their contractor to forego the use of the rigorous work practices required by it. By removing the opt-out provision, EPA more than doubled the number of homes subject to the LRRP Rule, and EPA has estimated that this amendment will add more than $336 million per year in compliance costs to the regulated community including homeowners.
In addition, despite EPA stating a commercially available test kit producing no more than 10 percent false positives would be on the market when the rule took effect in 2010, no test kit on the market meets this standard. The lack of compliant test kits approved by the EPA has added millions in compliance costs with consumers paying for unnecessary work because of false positive test results.
"The window and door retrofit market has been key to sustaining the industry and preserving jobs during the prolonged housing downturn. EPA's efforts to expand the Lead Rule beyond its original scope, inaccurate test kits, and enforcement actions targeted mainly at certified renovators has only hindered industry recovery efforts," added O'Brien.
Among its key provisions, H.R. 5911 would restore the "opt-out" clause, suspend the LRRP if EPA cannot approve a commercially available test kit meeting the regulation's requirements, prohibit expansion of the rule to commercial buildings until EPA conducts a study demonstrating the need for such action and provide a de minimis exemption for first-time paperwork violations.