The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) is seeking to suspend implementation of the controversial federal lead-safe work rules that took effect last month.
Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) “Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule” (LRRP) took effect April 22 after a two-year phase-in, the association is still calling on Congress to suspend the rule one more year. EPA estimates that the rule will affect 250,000 contractors.
“It is fair and logical that remodeling contractors need time to gain the proper training and certification so that they can comply with these new requirements,” said Janice Charletta, AAMA association services director. “The proposed one-year delay also will give the EPA more time to adequately prepare for full implementation and to fully inform U.S. homeowners of the impending requirements.”
The AAMA tied its newest objections to the legislative progress of the HOME STAR program, which passed the U.S. House last week. HOME STAR is a program that would incentivize energy-efficiency improvements. LRRP and HOME STAR apply to similar housing stock.
A group of associations and retailers mounted a similar appeal to LRRP on similar grounds in March, but the effort went nowhere.
Charletta said the benefits of HOME STAR “could be negated if the LRRP requirements are implemented without delay. The severe economic downturn of the past 24 months has had a tremendous and severe impact on workers in all aspects of the homebuilding and remodeling industry. Adding costs to this segment of U.S. small businesses at this time will prove to be an insurmountable burden.”
In response, EPA issued this statement:
“The Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule, proposed in 2006, and finalized in April 2008, became effective on April 22, 2010. The RRP rule is an important part of the federal government’s overall strategy for eliminating childhood lead poisoning.
“EPA issued the Lead RRP rule because a disturbing number of America's children are still being poisoned by lead-based paint in their homes—leading to learning and behavioral disorders.
“As of May 7, 2010, EPA has accredited 212 training providers who have conducted more than 10,000 courses, training an estimated 230,000 people in the construction and remodeling industries to use lead-safe work practices. EPA anticipates that the number of trained and certified contractors will continue to grow over the coming months.”
The new lead rule requires EPA lead-safe certification of contractors and companies whose work will disturb a minimum specified amount of paint in homes, schools and day-care centers built before 1978. Immediately after the rule took effect, EPA tightened it by removing the ability of affected homeowners to allow their contractor to opt out of the requirements.