The Changing Face of Lead Abatement Regulations

October 1, 2008

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Facility managers: put April 2010 on your calendar. In April 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will require all contractors whose renovation work disturbs lead-based paint in certain pre-1978 structures to be properly certified. The structures to which this ruling applies include homes child care facilities and schools.

This ruling completes a long series of changes which have marked the regulated abatement of lead-based paints in the United States. Since the EPA banned the use of lead-based paints entirely in 1978, the agency has been charged with various tasks, which have been carried out through changes in lead abatement regulations.

Before 1992, little organized action was made at the national level to actively reduce the amount of lead-based paint in the Untied States. In 1992, the EPA reacted to a congressional study showing the prevalence of low level lead poisoning in America.

The new lead abatement regulation was the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, which targeted lead in homes and rental properties. In 1996, home owners, including landlords were required to notify buyers and tenants of the presence of lead-based paint. Additional rules added in 2000 provided regulation for the disposal of lead based paint, and in 2001 a set of hazard standards were put in place.

New Regulations, New Lead Abatement Fees

Until recently, the EPA has abstained from leveling federal fees for lead abatement certification programs. In 2008, the EPA suggested new regulations that would establish a fee schedule to help defray the costs of a nationwide lead abatement program.

Here are the current fee estimates the EPA is considering. These estimates are taken from the EPA’s proposed rule for abatement certification fees which can be found here.

• Accreditation for Initial Training Course $730
• Accreditation for Refresher Training Course $550
• Re-accreditation for Initial Training Course $480
• Re-accreditation for Refresher Training Course $430
• Initial firm certification $410
• Firm re-certification $410
• Individual certification $410
• Individual re-certification $410

These new lead abatement regulations for additional fees are applicable to those states and territories which do not have a federally approved state lead abatement certification system. Currently those states are Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, South Carolina and New York.

Although the EPA has shown signs of keeping these fees low to encourage compliance, the agency has published estimates of the fee schedule that more closely mirror current lead abatement certification pricing trends. If that fee schedule were to be enacted-an unlikely event-the costs for accreditation would almost triple.

Lead Abatement Regulation: Future Trends

As more complete studies become available about the effects of very tiny amounts of lead, the possibility exists that the EPA may tighten guidelines for lead-based paint in the future. However, such a move would take years to come to fruition, and so far, major action by the EPA has been restricted to bringing compliance up to established levels.

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