EPA has issued guidance regarding which commercially available chemical spot tests can be used to test for the presence of lead-based paint to comply with the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule. Notably, the tests are only recognized by EPA and not HUD, and they cannot be used to determine the lead status of a property for determining whether it must comply with federal lead disclosure requirements that apply to all pre-1978 properties.
According to the EPA guidance, property owners can now use 3M™ LeadCheck™ product on plaster and drywall substrate.
A list of recognized test kits, with information including substrates upon which they can be used, can be found at www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/testkit.htm. All EPA-recognized test kits must be used following the manufacturers’ instructions for the applicable substrate.
Apartment firms should note that EPA requires them to keep track of any testing done in conjunction with renovation and repair events, whether performed by on-site staff or third party contractors. If lead is identified on a specific surface, it must be noted in the records and disclosed to residents of that specific unit at time of lease and subsequent repairs.
Moreover, pursuant to 40 CFR 745.86(c): "When test kits are used, the renovation firm must, within 30 days of the completion of the renovation, provide identifying information as to the manufacturer and model of the test kits used, a description of the components that were tested including their locations and the test kit results to the person who contracted for the renovation."
While the new guidance is a helpful development, NMHC/NAA continue to underscore the need for a reliable chemical spot test that detects the presence of lead at the regulated level and avoids giving “false” positive readings that add unnecessary costs to renovation and repair activities.