Answers About the EPA Lead Certification (RRP) Rule
1. How does the EPA justify the $300 fee? Will that be used to fund the EPA lead program?
As specified in section 402 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA must establish and implement a fee schedule to recover for the U.S. Treasury the Agency’s costs of administering and enforcing the standards and requirements applicable to lead-based paint training programs and contractors. The fees will recover EPA’s costs for processing applications, enforcing program requirements, and administrative activities such as maintenance of the central database. EPA established the fees in March 2009 as part of a rulemaking which provided notice to the public about the rule and considered public comments on the rule. The rule text can be found at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-TOX/2009/March/Day-20/t6167.htm
The fees go to the General Treasury.
2. How did the EPA come up with the estimated cost per job? It’s ridiculously low. For example, does it include the added burden of pollution insurance, which the growing awareness of lead is likely to trigger more contractors to buy? Does it include the cost of training one’s crew? Given the high turnover in the construction trades, and the responsibility of the certified RRP person to train the rest of the crew, training costs will be high.
While developing the RRP rule, EPA conducted extensive economic analyses, which show that the requirements of the rule are not excessive or overly burdensome, in light of the importance of avoiding the potentially severe consequences of exposure to lead-based paint hazards. EPA estimates that the costs of containment, cleaning, and cleaning verification will range from $8 to $167 per job, with the exception of those exterior jobs where vertical containment would be required.
• Costs of equipment (for example, plastic sheeting, tape, HEPA vacuums and tool shrouds – the equipment varies by job).
• Costs of labor (for example, the time required to perform cleaning and cleaning verification).
In addition to work practice costs, your costs will include training fees and certification fees. The costs include:
• Training costs to individual renovators working in pre-1978 housing or child-occupied facilities who must take a course from an accredited training provider (cost is set by the training provider; estimated to be about $200 for a 5-year certification).
• Certification costs to firms to obtain certification from EPA ($300 fee to the U.S. Treasury for a 5-year certification. This fee is required by law to cover program administration).
Renovation firms are already carrying out renovation, repair and painting jobs and already pay insurance premiums for their businesses. The new rule will not change this practice. In fact, renovators who are EPA certified as lead-safe firms will be able to demonstrate to their insurers that they follow protective lead-safe work practices. Therefore, EPA does not believe insurance rates will be adversely affected by following this rule.
Training the crew should be done on the job as part of normal training on work skills and safety.
3. How many cases of lead poisoning are currently related to remodeling activities ? What reduction do you expect?
In the RRP final rule preamble, EPA estimated the number of children living in homes that would be renovated each year. As a result, there will be approximately 1.4 million children under the age of 6 who will be affected by having their exposure to lead dust minimized due to the rule.
73 FR 21692, at 21750 (April 22, 2008)
4. What’s the likelihood of anyone actually getting the maximum fine, and what circumstances would trigger it?
In the first year of the rule, EPA will focus on helping firms comply with the rule’s requirements to become lead-safe certified. The Agency will also respond to tips and complaints. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) provides that any person who violates a requirement is liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $37,500 for each violation. However, in determining a penalty, EPA must take into account the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of each violation. EPA must also take into account the effect on the violator’s ability to continue to do business, and the violator’s history of violations and degree of culpability. With very limited exceptions, EPA also seeks to eliminate the economic benefit a violator may have gained from its violations. EPA is currently developing a penalty policy which will provide guidance to the EPA Regional Offices on how to apply the penalty factors from TSCA to the RRP rule.
5. Why are RRP certified contractors only allowed to use the least accurate method of testing for the presence of lead?
Certified renovators are trained in using the test kits but are not trained in the other methods of detecting lead-based paint. Certified inspectors and risk assessors are trained in the other methods. A report from a certified inspector or risk assessor can be used by the renovation firm when determining if the RRP rule applies to the renovation.
6. Why is the trigger surface area based on the size of the component rather than the specific work area? (For example, although one clapboard may be significantly smaller than 20 sq. ft., removing it would still fall under RRP because it defines the entire wall, not that single board, as the “component.”)
The trigger surface area is based on the amount of lead-based paint disturbed. If the total surface area of all painted surfaces of the component is less than 20 feet on an exterior job, then that job would not fall under the rule. If a renovator removes 10 sq ft of an exterior wall , and that is the total amount of paint disturbed during the renovation, then the job would not fall under the rule. The size of the wall is not the trigger for the rule; rather, the size of the amount of paint being disturbed triggers the rule.
7. Certified RRP personnel have to be retrained every five years. How often does the RRP person have to retrain non-certified employees?
Although there is no specific requirement for ‘‘refresher training,’’ on-the-job training must be provided for each worker for each job to the extent necessary to ensure that that worker is adequately trained for the tasks he or she will be performing.