by Tara Taffera
In 1992, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) all said they wanted to eliminate
lead in residential homes and they wanted to do it by April 22, 2010.
Enter the EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule, which
was issued in 2008. This was just one of the things I learned when I took
the EPA’s Certified Renovator class in June 2010.
Upon returning from my training I wrote a blog about the many things I
learned (check it out on dwmmag.com) but want to focus on just one of
But first consider this comment from my instructor: “This rule is not
the best rule. EPA had to make some changes and they will continue to
The fact that the rules will continue to change is not a huge surprise.
Hopefully these tweaks will make the program better but, good or bad,
more changes are likely. In fact, my instructor suggested that you check
out the EPA’s website regularly for changes and updates.
The most surprising thing I learned from the class is that you don’t just
have to worry about the EPA’s rules when it comes to lead. HUD’s are tougher.
HUD Rules—More Stringent
Our instructor told us that contractors working on a job for which they
are receiving federal funds have to follow HUD’s Lead Safe Housing Rule.
“If you’re following these, you’re following the most stringent rules,”
he said. “What’s allowed by EPA is not tolerated by HUD.”
He offered some examples of the differences between the two programs.
One is the fact that contractors following EPA’s rules have to issue the
pamphlet, “Renovate Right,” to the homeowner prior to doing the job—but
if it’s the day of the job that’s fine. For HUD, the brochure has to be
presented 15 days prior to the work.
No one could answer the question as to why the rules are different. (You
can check out HUD’s rules at http://www.hud.gov/offices/lead/).
OSHA Rules—No Joke
And then there’s OSHA.
“Some of the things EPA will tell you to do goes against OSHA rules,”
said our instructor.
“OSHA is no joke,” he added. “They could teach the EPA how to enforce
While the scope of the class focused on EPA rules, and time constraints
prohibited us from getting into the differences between the two programs,
our instructor urged class participants to read OSHA’s construction standards
related to lead, 29 CFR1926.62.
I’m not pointing out the inconsistencies to place blame. I’m doing it
so contractors can make sure they are following the appropriate mandates.
Additionally, it may show that while “tweaks” still are being made to
EPA’s program, the EPA may be looking to these more stringent agencies
for the final rules.
Why not prepare now? Wouldn’t everyone be better off if we were all prepared
© Copyright 2010 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.