EPA lead rule suffers setback

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will not be able to enforce its Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) rule until it approves a reliable lead test as mandated by its own regulations, according to an amendment adopted yesterday by the House Appropriations Committee. The amendment, supported by the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA), was sponsored by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) and was approved by a committee voice vote.

When the EPA implemented the final LRRP Rule the agency was supposed to have approved a commercially available lead test kit, which produced no more than 10% false positives and 5% false negatives. As of today, no such kit is available on the market, and some new kits produce false positives as high as 60% of the time, according to an NLBMDA press release. The Rehberg Amendment would lift the burden of LRRP compliance and its costs from thousands of consumers in homes that otherwise would have tested negative.  

"NLBMDA would like to thank Congressman Rehberg for his efforts to help alleviate the unjustified compliance burden placed on dealers and their customers as a result of unreliable test kits," said NLBMDA executive VP Scott Lynch. "If EPA is going to expect compliance from the regulated community, we expect them to adhere to their own regulations as well."

The appropriations bill will now move to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

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