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Court Orders EPA to Take Action on Lead Paint

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

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On Wednesday (Dec. 27, 2017), a San Francisco-based federal appeals court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to take action within the next 90 days to revise standards that protect children from lead paint.

Lead Paint Standard

With no updates since the early 2000s, the current lead paint standard remains an issue. According to the Washington Examiner, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the EPA has taken too long in updating the lead paint and dust-lead standards.

The court cited the fact that the EPA is required to act more quickly under the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, due to the fact that lead paint is more dangerous to children than previously thought.

Lamiot, CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On Wednesday (Dec. 27, 2017), a San Francisco-based federal appeals court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to take action within the next 90 days to revise standards that protect children from lead paint.

In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated there is no known safe level of lead that can enter the bloodstream. According to The New York Times, lead poisoning is the top environmental health threat in the U.S. for children six years old and younger.

The last standard set for lead contamination levels in dust and soil in home was set by the EPA in 2001.

EPA Action

Petitioners in 2009 asked the EPA to provide more adequate protection for children by providing more stringent lead paint standards.

In 2011, the agency acknowledged the need for stricter rules, but did not provide a timetable nor made any move to propose a rule.

In August 2016, the same petitioners approached the 9th Circuit Appeals Court, requesting that the court rule that the EPA’s delay was unreasonable.

According to the Examiner, the Trump administration informed the court that it would likely take another six years for a new rule to be issued.

Judge Mary Shroeder ordered the EPA to propose a new rule within 90 days and issue something final within a year, citing that the agency did not provide “an alternative timeline, other than its vague intention to issue a proposed rule in four years and a final rule in six, a timeline we hold to be unreasonable.”

As it stands, the EPA has taken more than eight years (to date) to propose a rule, and has “disavowed any interest in working with petitioners to develop an appropriate timeline through mediation,” Shroeder noted. “We are also mindful of the severe risks to children of lead poisoning under EPA’s admittedly insufficient standards.”

A spokesperson for the EPA has indicated the agency is reviewing the court’s ruling, while also noting that the agency will continue to work to address issues surrounding childhood lead exposure.


Tagged categories: Coating Materials; Good Technical Practice; Government; Health and safety; Lead; North America

Comment from Michael Halliwell, (1/3/2018, 11:35 AM)

*engage cynical rant mode* The EPA and OSHA are both hog-tied by bureaucracy, political interference and special interest groups. Both organizations can put forward all the new rules they want....It'll take a decade (4-6 years is optimistic in my observation) for the politicians to gut it to something they will sign / allow to be enforced and about a week for the same court prodding the EPA for action now to apply a year-long stay to the new rule as some special interest group presents its case about why the new rule will cost them money / ruin the economy / make it hard for their workers to be productive / cause a loss in competitiveness with other countries who don't have these laws or regulations, etc. I'm not about to say that OSHA and the EPA need total independence, but they do need a lot more than what they have now and the teeth to enforce their mandates. *end rant mode*

Comment from Gregory Stoner, (1/3/2018, 12:05 PM)

Amen to that. Started educating members of the Painter’s Union in 1992 shortly after taking classes on the subject. Found my own daughter to have a blood level of 8 at that time and was terrified about potential long term effects. Fortunately all theses years later she is smart and healthy.

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