Kristina Baum – 202.224.6176

Donelle Harder – 202.224.4721

Inhofe, Thune, Grassley Reintroduce Legislation to Improve Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, joined by Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee, reintroduced S.1987, the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act, which would improve the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) in order to increase compliance:

"I would like to thank Sens. John Thune and Chuck Grassley in joining me to reintroduce this important piece of legislation in an effort to improve unnecessarily cumbersome regulations EPA has placed on homebuilders and remodelers," Inhofe said.

"Under current law, contractors are required by EPA to adhere to the RRP safety measures even if a home does not contain lead paint or if there is not an individual of an at-risk population residing in the home. This one-size fits all approach significantly increases the cost of home renovation work under contractor requirements from EPA.  Our bill restores the 'Opt-Out Provision' allowing homeowners to withdraw from the rule if an at-risk population does not reside in the home facing direct damage from lead exposure.  The bill also prohibits EPA from expanding regulatory control to include commercial and public buildings until EPA conducts a study demonstrating the need for such action.  I look forward to working with my colleagues to protect Americans from harmful effects of lead exposure, and bring this legislation forward for consideration."

This legislation that would:

  • Restore the “Opt-Out Provision” which would allow homeowners without small children or pregnant women residing in them to decide whether to require RRP compliance, not the government;
  • Prohibit EPA from expanding the RRP to commercial and public buildings until EPA conducts a study demonstrating the need for such an action;
  • Suspend the RRP if EPA cannot approve one or more commercially available test kits that meet the regulation’s requirements (40 CFR §745.88);
  • Provide a de minimus exemption for first-time paperwork violations;
  • Provide for an exemption for renovations after a natural disaster


EPA’s Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule governing the work of contractors in any pre-1978 home took effect on April 22, 2010.  The rule requires renovation work that disturbs more than six square feet on the interior of a pre-1978 home and all window and door replacement to follow rigorous and costly work practices supervised by an EPA-certified renovator and requires that it be performed by an EPA-certified renovation firm.  (Homes can be exempted from the rule if no lead-based paint is found.)

On July 6, 2010, EPA removed the "Opt-Out Provision" from the rule which allowed homeowners without children under six or pregnant women residing in the home to allow their contractor to forego the use of lead-safe work practices.   By removing the opt-out provision, EPA more than doubled the number of homes subject to the RRP Rule, and EPA has estimated that this amendment will add more than $336 million per year in compliance costs to the regulated community.  However, the costs are far greater because of EPA’s flawed economic analysis which significantly underestimated the true compliance costs.

EPA has approved two lead paint test kits for RRP compliance; however, neither test kit meets the rule’s standard of producing less than 10 percent false positives. According to the Agency,  the test kits incorrectly indicate the presence of lead ranging between 22.5% and 84% of the time. The lack of an EPA compliant test kit has even resulted in homeowners paying for unnecessary work because of false positive test results.

EPA has also begun the process of extending the RRP Rule to commercial and public buildings through an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking—even though Congress only granted EPA authority to issue guidelines for work practices applicable to RRP activities unless the agency engages in a study of renovation in commercial and public buildings.

To read the full text of the bill, click here.