Just days after its controversial lead-safe rule took effect for homes and day-care centers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is weighing a similar mandate for commercial and public projects.
The agency published advance notice May 6 in the Federal Register of its “intention to regulate the renovation, repair, and painting of public and commercial buildings under section 402(c)(3) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).”
The little-publicized notice followed the implementation—and immediate tightening—of EPA’s “Lead-safe Repair, Renovation and Painting Rule.” That rule, implemented April 22, requires certification for contractors and businesses that disturb six or more square feet of interior paint (more for exterior paint) in renovating homes, schools and day-care centers built before 1978.
The rule had drawn fire from affected trade associations and a few industry suppliers, who said the measure unduly burdened contracting businesses and warned that compliance would drive up the cost of remodeling and repairs.
Further angering contractors, the EPA quickly eliminated the ability of homeowners to allow their contractors to opt out of the requirements. That ignited new opposition, this time from the American Architectural Manufacturing Association.
Nevertheless, the agency says it is ready to expand the measure to other sectors.
“This notice announces the commencement of proceedings to propose lead-safe work practices and their requirements for renovations on the exteriors of public and commercial buildings and to determine whether lead-based paint hazards are created by interior renovation, repair, and painting projects in public and commercial buildings,” the notice said.
“For those renovations in the interiors of public and commercial buildings that create lead-based paint hazards, EPA will propose regulations to address these hazards.”
EPA says the measure is likely to apply to:
• Building construction (North American Industrial Classification System [NAICS] code 236), e.g., commercial building construction, industrial building construction, commercial and institutional building construction, building finishing contractors, drywall and insulation contractors, painting and wallcovering contractors, finish carpentry contractors, and other building finishing contractors.
• Specialty trade contractors (NAICS code 238), e.g., plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors, painting and wallcovering contractors, electrical contractors, finish-carpentry contractors, drywall and insulation contractors, siding contractors, tile and terrazzo contractors, glass and glazing contractors.
• Real estate (NAICS code 531), e.g., lessors of non-residential buildings and dwellings, non-residential property managers.
• Facilities support services (NAICS code 561210).
• Other general government support (NAICS code 921) e.g., general services departments, government, public property management services, government.
For more technical information on the measure, contact Hans Scheifele, National Program Chemicals Division, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460–0001; (202) 564–3122; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more general information, contact The TSCA-Hotline, ABVI—Goodwill, 422 South Clinton Ave., Rochester, NY 14620; (202) 554–1404; or email TSCAHotline@epa.gov.