Industry applauds reform effort for lead paint rule
The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2013 was introduced in the senate Wednesday night — a step toward easing the burden on lumberyards.
Legislation was introduced last night in the U.S. Senate that would reform the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule.
This bill would reduce the burden the rule has placed on lumber and building material (LBM) dealers in the home retrofit market, and also protect pregnant women and small children from lead hazards. The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2013 (S. 484) was introduced by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and six cosponsors. NLBMDA has sought re-introduction of this reform bill in the Senate following the introduction of a similar Senate bill in 2012 that expired with the last session of congress.
The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) was one of the groups applauding the move.
"Over the last several years of the housing industry downturn, the remodeling and retrofit market has been a key source of business for LBM dealers, either through their installed sales operations, serving remodelers, or both," said NLBMDA chairman Chuck Bankston, president of Bankston Lumber in Barnesville, Ga. "While we support the goal of protecting pregnant women and small children from lead hazards, EPA’s effort to expand the Lead Rule beyond its original intent, its aggressive pursuit of paperwork violations, and its failure to approve a lead test kit meeting its own rule has been an extreme burden on a residential market that is just starting to recover from the recession. We commend Senator Inhofe for his continuing leadership on this issue and will make the legislation a focus of our upcoming Legislative Conference in Washington."
In July 2010, the EPA removed the "opt-out provision" from the LRRP rule, which granted homeowners the right to forego the use of rigorous LRRP work practices if pregnant women or children under six did not live in the home. The LRRP rule requires that renovation work disturbing more than six interior square feet and work replacing doors or window in a pre-1978 home to follow burdensome and costly work practices. These projects must also be supervised by an EPA-certified renovator and be performed by an EPA-certified construction company.
EPA more than doubled the number of homes subject to the LRRP Rule by dropping the opt-out provision, and the EPA has estimated that their amendment adds more than $336 million per year in compliance costs to the regulated community, which includes homeowners.
In addition, despite EPA stating a commercially available test kit producing no more than 10% false positives would be on the market when the rule took effect in 2010, no test kit on the market meets this standard. The lack of EPA-approved test kits meeting the rule’s standard for false positives has added millions in compliance costs with consumers paying for unnecessary work because of false positive test results.
Among its key provisions, S. 484 would restore the "opt-out" clause, suspend the rule for owner-occupied housing built between 1960 and 1978 when a small child or pregnant woman does not live in the home (if EPA cannot approve a test kit meeting its own standard for false positives), prohibit expansion of the rule to commercial buildings until EPA conducts a study demonstrating the need for such action, and provide a de minimis exemption for first-time paperwork violations.
In addition to Senator Inhofe, the original cosponsors of S. 484 are Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), and David Vitter (R-La.). NLBMDA has made passage of S. 484 a top legislative priority.
Toro reacts to EPA’s Tier 4 Standard in diesel engines
Bloomington, Minn.-based The Toro Co. says it will be introducing several new Tier 4 compliant Reelmaster and Groundsmaster mowers beginning in 2013 that incorporate more sophisticated electronic controls, as well as new engines, exhaust systems and after-treatment technology.
The move is part of a plan to roll out cleaner diesel engine technology that complies with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 4 Final emission standard.
The new designs will meet stringent EPA Tier 4 Final emission requirements for off-highway diesel engines that went into effect Jan. 1, 2013, and establish precise limits on the amount of pollutants — specifically Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) and Particulate Matter (PM) — that can be released into the environment.
Toro’s Tier 4 compliant Reelmaster and Groundsmaster diesel mowers will utilize advanced Yanmar Tier 4 diesel engine technology.
“Tier 4 is about cleaner air and provides the turf maintenance industry another opportunity to exhibit leadership in safeguarding the environment,” said Grant Young, director of marketing for Toro Commercial Equipment. “Our new line of Tier 4 compliant diesel products provide our customers the performance they expect from Toro, while fulfilling both the spirit and requirements of Tier 4 Final.”
Black & Decker heats up the mop category
Towson, Md.-based Black & Decker introduced four new models of germ-killing steam cleaning units.
The units use water to kill 99.9% of germs to achieve a deep down clean, according to the company.
“We’ve identified four areas with steam cleaning products that were in need of improvement and innovation: steam mops that are difficult to fill, units with awkward controls, insufficient cleaning power, and units that are unable to access difficult areas like tight corners,” said Austin Wilcox, product manager at Black & Decker. “The new Black & Decker Steam Cleaning Units allow users to clean multiple floor surface types like tile, vinyl, stone, marble and even sealed hardwood. Consumers are able to get a deep down clean using only water.”
Here’s the new lineup: The SmartSelect Deluxe Steam Mop with Handle Command, the 2-in-1 SmartSelect with Handle Command, the SmartSelect Steam Mop and the Handheld Steamer.
SmartSelect technology lets consumers choose a steam setting to address individual floor types. SmartSelect provides three different steam settings that correspond to different floor types to produce the right amount of steam to clean the selected floor material.
All of the new steam mop units have an automatic upright shutoff, which helps protect floors from damage during pauses in cleaning, a 15-second heat-up time and a ready-to go illumination tank that changes from red to blue to let users know when the steam mop reaches the correct temperature.