Undercover News Investigation Calls Out EPA on Lack of RRP Enforcement
The video below from newsnet5.com offers a good summary of the challenges renovators are up against due to illegal competition and a government that has mandated a law that is meant to protect children without the resources and commitment to follow through. Without enforcement, in addition to causing challenges for complying businesses, the law offers a false sense of security for children and their parents who believe the government is protecting them from lead poisoning. In fact, as the video points out, the law is in effect actually causing more lead poisoning because of the lower priced illegal contractors who ignore lead-safe work practices.
The RRP rule has definitely contributed to expanding the underground economy in the remodeling industry. Illegally operating businesses and moonlighters ignoring the rule as well as the required work practices have been stealing work away from legally operating businesses, mostly due to the fact that they can offer much lower prices than those who comply. This has made it very challenging for many renovators. It has also put many children at risk of lead poisoning.
At a RRP workshop I attended last week, sponsored by the Lead and Environmental Hazards Association (LEHA), several renovators complained to Mike Wilson of EPA about EPA’s handling so far of the RRP rule. One after the other renovators cited examples of projects they had lost to other businesses that are ignoring the rule. Several even reported home owners had laughed at them when they tried discussing the rule and its requirements. One attendee reported that a homeowner actually told him that he would find another contractor who would ignore the rule as a way of saving money. It all seemed to be new news to Mike Wilson who told us he oversees RRP Policy, so could not comment specifically about enforcement. When asked what message he would bring back to the EPA in Washington after the meeting, Mike said he would let them know that regulated contractors wanted a level playing field. Attendees let Mike know that they have been already giving that same message to EPA, perhaps if Mike delivers the message the leadership at EPA will listen and take action.