The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to revisit the definition of lead-based paint and further tighten standards for lead-safe renovation practices above the measures already required by April 2010.
EPA has issued a proposed rule to expand the coverage of the 2008 “Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule,” which is set to be fully implemented by April 2010.
The new rule would eliminate a provision that exempted some housing from the requirement that contractors be trained and certified and use lead-safe work practices when renovating, repairing or painting a pre-1978 home.
“This proposed rule will further increase protections for children and their families from lead-based paint hazards associated with home renovation and repair, “ said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances.
The federal government banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978. However, if a home was built before 1978, it has a higher likelihood of containing lead-based paint. The 2008 rule requires contractors working in pre-1978 housing where children under six or pregnant women reside take the proper precautions to perform lead-safe work, including minimizing the dust, containing the work area, and conducting a thorough cleanup to reduce the potential exposure associated with disturbing lead-based paint.
This rule would expand such requirements to cover most pre-1978 homes.
In a related matter, EPA also announced that it would propose to modify the regulatory hazard standard for lead in dust so that it is based on the most recent science. The agency also will work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to propose to modify the regulatory definition of lead-based paint.
The National Center for Healthy Housing, the Sierra Club, the Alliance for Healthy Homes and several other citizens groups had petitioned the agency on these issues in August, arguing that current standards were outdated.
The groups want to modify the definition of lead-based paint in 40 CFR 745.103 and 745.223 for previously applied paint or other surface coatings in housing, child-occupied facilities, public building and commercial buildings to reduce the lead levels from 0.5 percent by weight (5,000 parts per million (ppm) to 0.06 percent by weight (600 ppm) with a corresponding reduction in the 1.0 milligram per square centimeter standard.
In responding to the petition, Assistant EPA Administrator Steven A. Owens said: “Most recent epidemiological studies indicate that the current hazard standards may not be sufficiently protective. The Agency believes that its efforts should be based on current science.”
EPA will take comment on the proposal for 30 days and expects to finalize the rule by April 2010.
For more information, visit http://www.epa.gov/lead.