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Green Building News

Delay in Lead-Paint Rule Enforcement? Maybe

If Senate amendment is approved by the House of Representatives, small contractors will have until September 30 to get necessary training

A carpenter suits up before removing a window casing that tested positive for lead paint
Image Credit: Rob Wotzak

Contractors who have been anxious and/or frustrated about the compliance deadline for the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Lead Paint: Renovation, Repair and Painting” rule, which took effect on April 22, were recently given reason to hope that temporary relief might be in the offing.

On May 27, the U.S. Senate passed legislation, attached to a supplemental funding bill, that would prohibit the EPA from using funds in the bill to levy fines against contractors who are performing work in homes built before 1978 but have not yet received lead-safe training and certification. The funding bill, which passed the Senate and is up for consideration by the House of Representatives, extends the compliance deadline to September 30.

The main point of contention for many remodelers and installers has been that, in some parts of the country – including Oklahoma and Maine, which both have large stocks of older housing – there haven’t been enough EPA-approved training providers to meet demand.

A scramble for certification

By early March, for example, only about 135 trainers were available and 50,000 certifications had been awarded, although EPA officials said they expected another 50,000 to be on record by the April 22 compliance deadline. An official trainer only recently started offering training sessions for contractors in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for example. The president of the Remodelers Council at the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa told the Tulsa World that while most of the area’s established remodelers have already found a way to get certified, so far only about 25% of small contractors have managed to do so.

The amendment was proposed by Republican Sen. Susan Collins, of Maine, but opposed by Sen. Barbara Boxer, the California Democrat, who argued that it’s crucial to address sooner rather than later the dangers of lead poisoning, particularly for children and pregnant women who are at risk of exposure. (The EPA rule does include a provision, which expires July 6, that allows homes whose occupants do not include pregnant women and children under age 6 to opt out of the regulations.)

Collins said she fully supports the EPA rule but contended that inadequacies of the training-program rollout needed to be addressed. The amendment passed by a vote of 60-37.

Click here for an EPA page of relevant Rules and Regulations links; click here for a pdf of information, published May 6 in the Federal Register, on EPA rules regarding renovation, repair, and painting, and an analysis of data supporting expiration of the opt-out provision.


  1. Ricky | | #1

    This lead law has been in the works for app 17 yrs.Why has the EPA let us all be exposed to a product they say is dangerous for 17 yrs. If we were not in a recession and they were a lot of people wanting their homes remodeled or repaired it would be a night mare. I took the HUD course in 2008 and tried for a long time to find Epa certified trainers in my area and did not until Dec of 09 and had the course in March of 2010. The states that have no trainers should be extended but if people just drag their feet and did not get training then that is not the Fault of the EPA. At the same time the EPA should speed up the process of the certified firm as it is taking 2 to 3 months and this is too long, it should not take any longer than 2 to 3 weeks tops.

  2. Ev | | #2

    my understanding is that the
    my understanding is that the timing was to settle a lawsuit and this is limiting EPA's flexibility.

  3. Artrestore | | #3

    Test Kits
    I took the course and became certified in early May.(a little late, but the April classes were all filled) Then I found out that there is only one authorized supplier of EPA approved test kits in North America, and their delivery schedule is backed into late July, or August.
    What am I supposed to do? Sit on my backside and wait? Sorry, I gotta feed my family. And I'm a good liberal and really believe in the need to protect our customers.
    I think it's time to retire!

  4. JJ | | #4

    Article's link to EPA...
    I'm not 100% sure the link you provide to the EPA contains the most current information. The 'OPT-OUT' rule was eliminated in May 2010 but I could not find reference to the change on the linked page. I did find it at the top of this page:

  5. Andy Ault, CLC | | #5

    Accurate Information
    Shawn McCadden has done a great job of putting together a site packed with all of the most current info (including the actual Opt Out elimination date - which is July, NOT this month or in May as mentioned previously). He's one of the few people I've met who's actually read the entire bill word-for-word INCLUDING the preamble which almost no one talks about because it isn't in the training (and yet has some of the more important details). He's also developed his version of an RRP wiki (RRPedia) which is linked from the page below. His Lead RRP site is:

  6. GBA Editor
    Richard Defendorf | | #6

    JJ and Andy: thank you for the help
    I've altered the text to include the link to the more current Rules and Regulations page, as well as one for the Federal Register discussion of the amendment to the opt-out and record-keeping provisions in the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program. The feedback is appreciated.

  7. Rian from LeadCheck® | | #7

    LeadCheck® Lead Times
    After weathering the initial spike of order requests brought on by the launch of the EPA RRP rule on April 22nd, LeadCheck® has begun to meet the market’s overwhelming demand for our product. We have ramped up production and are processing orders in a far more diligent and timely manner. Our lead times have gone from one month to two weeks recently.

    If you need your order expedited to continue your work, please email me and I will make sure it gets to you in time for your next job.

  8. Rian from LeadCheck® | | #8

    [email protected]

  9. Anonymous | | #9

    Remodeling and lead protection rules
    Have any of you checked to see how much 6 mil plastic sheeting will be required for the protection of the site, as well as disposal? As you all know, I'm sure, plastic is made from petroleum. Kalifornia is outlawing the use of plastic bags to bring home your groceries. Can't you see how much more plastic is required for the disposal system the feds have created without thought?

  10. DPS | | #10

    RRP(Money Machine)
    This law is basically put into place just to find a way to collect revenue.The small buisness contractors is a very vunerable outlet for the feds to take advantage of.Iam certified and will do my part,but atleast present the rrp laws to a reasonable version so atleast everyone can function.Its just too one sided for a contractor to work and make a living.instaed of treating it as if it is going to be eliminated,treat it as trying to control it.Why don"t the feds give each certified contractor a 2000.00 check to get the needed supplies to get started.They want,but don't want to give.As a one man operation,these unexpected purchases eliminate my payroll for my family two good weeks behind.I'm just getting by as it is,and now.......I may end up in the unemplotyment line with the rest of the country.Hope things change in November.

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