As required by a 2012 litigation settlement, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering a new rule to expand the regulations that apply to the disturbance of lead during building renovation, repair and painting (RRP) activities in public and commercial buildings.
The rule, which would surpass the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s Lead in Construction Standard, would apply to work in public buildings built before 1978 and all commercial buildings regardless of age; current regulations apply only to residential buildings and child occupied facilities constructed prior to 1978, when lead paint was bannedIn response to a formal request for information, NMHC/NAA filed comments in early April 2013 with EPA as members of the Commercial Properties Coalition, a group of trade associations whose members are involved in various aspects of commercial real estate development, ownership, management, contracting and building product supply.
The coalition’s main message was that additional research is necessary to support new regulation. As a first principle to expanding a costly regulatory regime, EPA must demonstrate that there is a lead hazard in these buildings and then propose measures to protect the public health. Of note, EPA has suggested that it will extend consideration of susceptible populations beyond young children to include the general population.
Beyond that analysis, the coalition also urged the agency to ensure that it has fully explored and analyzed all relevant data that would be needed to justify such a rule, including:
- A lead hazard analysis based on building type, such as commercial, office or multifamily housing;
- Critical analysis of the building categories, uses and occupancies and how hazard finding may vary among recognized building types and sub-types;
- Coordination with federal facilities managers on studies in federal buildings of any lead-based paint hazards and actual renovation projects; and
- Inventory and assessment of whether existing regulatory programs and industry practices already address any potential lead-based paint hazards and renovation work practices in public and commercial buildings
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