No Rest for the Weary
Lead Paint Challenges Mount
by Jeff Inks
The cliché “no rest for the weary” seems particularly
applicable for the current challenges being faced by the door, window
and skylight industry.
The more traditional arena of national model codes and standards now includes
a number of rapidly evolving green building and sustainability codes and
standards, fervent pushes for ever more stringent energy and building
code requirements, development of independent state code requirements,
development of new Energy Star® program requirements, EPA lead paint
rules and future OSHA dust rules, among others. All are now a part of
the mix on a list that is growing.
Adding to the complexity is the almost overnight involvement—in relative
terms—of Congress through current legislation for tax credits, Home Star
and Building Star economic stimulus and climate change.
Making all of this particularly challenging and equally frustrating are
the countervailing impacts some of these issues have on one another.
That’s especially the case with EPA’s current intent to add new, more
stringent lead paint dust cleaning and clearance testing requirements
(applicable to all door and window replacements in pre-1978 housing) to
the existing, already onerous certification, record keeping, and special
renovation work practices that must be followed by a firm or anyone engaged
in the business of renovating pre-1978 housing. EPA’s intent to expand
the scope of the rule to cover public and commercial buildings is equally
Both stand to further discourage the critical energy-efficient retrofits
of existing homes and buildings being promoted by Energy Star®, voluntary
programs and federal legislation, as well as renovations of any kind in
pre-1978 housing and public and commercial buildings, especially replacement
of doors, windows and skylights. In turn, this further impedes our struggling
Making all of this
particularly challenging and equally frustrating are the countervailing
impacts some of these issues have on one another.
These actions come on the heels of EPA’s implementation
of its initial lead paint rule on April 22 despite widespread calls by
our association, and many other allied associations and their members
with interests in the renovation industry, and members of Congress to
delay the rule because of EPA’s failure to ensure that adequate numbers
of certified renovators, firms and trainers are available to effectively
implement the rule.
EPA also has refused to budge on its decision to remove the “opt-out”
provisions from the rule. The initial rule was limited to renovations
in pre-1978 where children aged six and under and pregnant women reside.
That becomes effective on July 6.
Making matters worse, the proposed final rule for dust-wipe and clearance
testing will require those performing many types of renovations, including
replacement of doors and windows, to take dust wipe samples and have them
tested by an EPA-approved laboratory before the project can be verified
as performed in compliance with the law. Those results also must be provided
to the homeowner or occupant.
The WDMA always has supported efforts to protect pregnant women and children
from risk of potential lead poisoning that can result from lead paint
dust generated if lead based paint is disturbed during renovations. However,
it has strongly opposed implementation of the initial rule until there
are sufficient numbers of certified firms, renovators and trainers, and
has equally opposed removal of the “opt-out.”
WDMA will continue to advocate for commonsense implementation of the rule
to minimize its impact on our fragile economic recovery and in impeding
the energy retrofit of existing homes and buildings. Our association is
coupling that with new efforts to oppose EPA’s intent to add even more
stringent requirements and expand the scope of the rule to public and
commercial buildings. Comments on both are due to EPA by July 6.
Jeff Inks serves as vice president of codes and regulatory affairs
for the Window and Door Manufacturers Association. His opinions are solely
his own and do not necessarily reflect those of this magazine.
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