EPA to Hold Building Managers Responsible for Lead-Based Paint Safety Requirements



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EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (Nov. 4, 2021) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its intent today to improve compliance and strengthen enforcement of the lead-based paint Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule as it applies to property management companies (PMCs) that perform, offer, or claim to perform regulated renovations without certification from the EPA in pre-1978 housing or child-occupied facilities.   

"Health impacts from exposure to lead-based paint continue to be a significant problem in the United States, particularly in underserved and overburdened communities,” said Larry Starfield, Acting Assistant Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.  “Through this proposed action, the EPA will improve compliance with the RRP Rule in rental properties managed by property management companies and protect tenants from lead exposure.”

“Everyone, regardless of where they live, deserves to be safe from the hazards of lead-based paint,” said Michal Freedhoff, Assistant Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Holding property management companies accountable for the same lead safe work practices that other firms are held to is an important step towards ensuring all communities are protected from the dangerous health effects of lead.”

The EPA published a notice in today’s Federal Register announcing its intention to withdraw previously published answers to two Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) concerning property management companies and their compliance responsibilities under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule.  The notice explains the EPA’s rationale for the withdrawal, and circumstances where a PMC must obtain certification from the EPA and ensure that renovations in the homes they manage are performed by certified firms and employees trained to use lead-safe work practices. This is especially important to underserved and overburdened communities, which often include a high proportion of rental housing managed by PMCs, and the military community, where family housing is also often managed by PMCs.

The RRP rule protects residents of pre-1978 homes from lead-based paint disturbed during renovation, repair, or painting activities. The rule requires that firms that perform or offer to perform renovations in pre-1978 houses need to be certified by the EPA and assign individuals who have been trained to use lead-safe work practices; disclose important safety information to residents prior to the work; and document their compliance with the rule.

Compliance with the RRP rule’s requirements protects people from the hazardous health effects of lead.  Lead-contaminated dust from chipped or peeling lead-based paint in homes built prior to 1978 presents one of the most common causes of elevated blood lead levels in children.  Infants and children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults do, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. 

Today’s notice in the Federal Register explains the agency’s rationale for the withdrawal of the two current FAQs, the impact of this withdrawal on compliance, how the EPA will exercise its enforcement discretion, and it invites public comment on the action. The public comment period will last 30 days.

Following the comment period and the agency’s consideration of comments received by that date, the EPA intends to post a memorandum that states whether the withdrawal will take effect as planned, on March 19, 2022.

To read the Federal Register Notice, please visit: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/11/04/2021-24010/withdrawal-of-two-answers-to-frequent-questions-about-property-management-companies-and-the-toxic

For more information about lead and lead regulations, please visit: www.epa.gov/lead

 

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