Blunt Meeting About EPA Lead Rule Draws a Crowd

Congressman Roy Blunt met with a room full of remodelers, sub-contractors and suppliers at the HBA office on Tuesday, April 2oth. Blunt listened to industry concerns about the EPA’s lagging efforts to provide adequate training resources will severely limit the number of remodelers able to work in older homes or force home owners to hire illegal contractors. As well, on-going changes to the rule during the training phase, especially regarding the homeowner opt-out provision, created tremendous confusion and is an obstacle to compliance.

“An NAHB study shows that professional remodelers leave a home cleaner than when they begin work,” said Rusty MacLachlan, HBA President. “Educated, professional remodelers are the best equipped to help prevent lead exposure. However, the lack of certified remodelers will put home owners and their families at greater risk of lead exposure.”

Professional remodelers are also concerned that consumers will balk at the higher costs associated with rule compliance and will risk exposure to lead paint by attempting the work themselves or using an uncertified fly-by-night contractor to cut costs.

“If a homeowner is not already well-informed about what to ask for in terms of proof of certification, etc., the rule won’t help catch the shady contractors who really have no intention of complying, who don’t carry liability insurance and don’t pull permits – and therefore can provide a lower estimate for the work,” said MacLachlan. According to a number of industry seminars and conference calls, looking at permitting activity is one way EPA will approach enforcement.

Blunt said he had already sent a letter to the EPA encouraging an administrative delay in the rule but at the time, he had not received a response from the agency. Many thanks to HBA member Alside for providing examples of related equipment and visual aids for the meeting. Due to industry demand, the HBA has added two more Lead Safety Certification Courses on May 25 and 26. To download the most current registration form, click here.