Does Economy Buster RRP Have Any Factual Basis?
One Person’s Opinion: This is a guest blog submitted by Ray Douglas to express his opinion. Ray is a remodeling contractor in Brodhead, Wisconsin and has been in business for 34 years. He comments and contributes to RRPedia quite often. If you would like to express your opinion or offer something of value for RRPedia visitors let me know.
Does Economy Buster RRP Have Any Factual Basis
If lead dust from remodeling is the main reason for elevated blood lead levels (EBBL’s) in children, then why did EBBL’s in children drop dramatically during the same ten year period (1997-2007) that remodeling activities doubled? The CDC and Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies charts below show this.
In a recent blog, the question was asked of the Director of Massachusetts’ Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program; “How many children in Massachusetts were poisoned by lead due to renovation?” The answer: “He had no idea and said the Commonwealth doesn’t track the source of the poisoning.”
A Mercatus Reports article written by Alastair Walling in 2006 states: “Even though the details of their own studies show little in the way of a link between R&R work and elevated blood lead, the EPA is persisting with its planned certification of R&R workers. The proposed rules may not produce lower blood-lead levels, but they will raise the cost of renovation and remodeling.”
In a letter dated 11-27-2009, written by SBA Office of Advocacy that was sent to EPA administrator Jackson, makes the following statement: “Advocacy believes that the evidence in fact shows that private contractors (i.e., professional renovators) subject to reasonable cleanup standards, including the “no visible dust or debris” standard, do not create additional health hazards.”
When you remove all the smoke and mirrors from this rule, the EPA can prove two thoughts; 1 Some remodeling activities create dust 2 Lead paint dust can create or raise EBLL’s Independent of each other those two statements can be proven, but the combination (which is a major foundational reason for RRP) is not so clear. Why?
The EPA admits there are several other sources of lead exposure. These include lead in soil, water, toys, glassware etc. The following links provide some examples:
- All Lead Recalls Posted By the CDC
- Congressional Report Prompts Fear and Anger Over Lead In D.C. Water
If it was suspected that a child got EBBL’s from a remodeling activity, were all the other possibilities of lead exposure ruled out? Was everything that the child touched or ingested also tested? That would almost be impossible to do. However, by not doing so, how can it be proven that any lead dust generated by responsible remodelers is a leading cause of EBBL’s in children?
If the EPA had confidence in the RRP rule, why didn’t they add the following statement inside the RRP Renovate Right pamphlet:
“The contractor, by following these rules, will contain all the lead dust he/she created doing your project, and cannot be held liable for any other past, present or future lead contamination or exposure.”
Because of the extra costs, and the lack of consumer awareness about the dangers of lead, this rule is a tough sell to the customer. It becomes an even tougher sell when the customer asks for evidence to justify the rule. As discussed above, there is a lot of information that questions the need for it. So, unfortunately, the best answer a contractor may be able to offer is “because it’s the law”.
Since I can’t explain to the customer the need for this rule, I encourage my customers and prospects to contact their state and federal representatives and ask them to provide facts and figures to explain the need for the RRP rule. To assist them with this, I supply them with a letter to send to their representatives along with a stamped and addressed envelope. I encourage all other contractors to consider doing the same.
To make sending the letters easier, Shawn and I have created sample letter templates that can be shared with and used by remodeling customers and concerned homeowners. There is a sample contractor letter available as well. Click here to view or download the letter templates. Special thanks to Melanie Hodgdon of Business Systems Management for helping edit the letters and for suggesting some of the content of the letters.