The Environmental Protection Agency has extended the comment period for proposed changes to its controversial new lead-safety rule, while closing one of the rule’s key loopholes.
On July 2, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention signed a Federal Register Notice to reopen the comment period for the proposed rule that appeared in the Federal Register of May 6, 2010 (75 FR 25038) (FRL-8823-5).
In that document, EPA proposed several revisions to the “Lead-Safe Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule” (LRRP), which was approved in April 2008 and implemented April 22, 2010. The proposal includes additional requirements designed to ensure that lead-based paint hazards generated by renovation work are adequately cleaned after renovation work is finished and before the work areas are re-occupied.
The original comment period on the proposed rule, “Clearance and Clearance Testing Requirements for the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program [RIN 2070-AJ57],” was to have ended July 6. EPA has extended the comment period until Aug. 6. A final rule is expected in July 2011.
The LRRP rule has met with a storm of disapproval from industry trade associations, legislators from both parties, and some retailers. Critics say the rule reaches too far; costs too much; was implemented too quickly; and carries an inflammatory, misleading public service campaign.
One source of particular fire was the agency’s decision, after the rule was implemented, to eliminate the ability of homeowners to allow their contractors to opt out of the requirements. That loophole officially closed Tuesday, July 6.
The rule requires lead-safe certification of renovators and companies that disturb six square feet of interior paint in a home, day-care center or school built before 1978. About 79 million U.S. homes are potentially affected, says the National Association of Home Builders.
Although the rule remains in effect, EPA announced in June that it would delay enforcement of the company-certification requirement until Oct. 1 and delay enforcement of certification requirements against individual renovation workers if they apply to enroll in certified renovator classes by Sept. 30 and complete the training by Dec. 31.
The on-line docket for the proposed rule and EPA’s electronic docket and comment system are available at www.regulations.gov. The docket number for this rulemaking is EPAHQ-OPPT-2005-00492.
For technical information, contact Cindy Wheeler, National Program Chemicals Division, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington DC. 20460-0001; 202-564-0484; firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the docket and commenting, consult the ADDRESSES section in the front of the proposed rule. For additional information about lead and lead hazards, go to http://www.epa.gov/lead/. Contact an information specialist at The National Lead Information Center (NLIC) by calling 1-800-424-LEAD (5323). See also http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/nlic.htm.