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Your Interactive Resource for EPA RRP Information

RRPedia logoLooking for accurate information about the EPA RRP rule?

RRPedia has been created by Shawn McCadden to help remodelers and others affected by the New EPA Renovation Repair and Painting Rule. 

Please read RRPedia Use and Contribution Information before using or contributing to RRPedia.


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EPA Report Card: How well are they doing with the RRP Rule?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Apr 01, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

EPA Report Card:  How well are they doing with the RRP Rule?

Effectiveness of RRP Rule


Many news outlets and politicians have been using report card scores to express how well they think people, government policies and regulations are performing.   Several politicians, government employees and even our president have provided their own self assessment scores as well.  It is almost two years now since the EPA RRP Rule went into effect.   I thought I would offer my own report card on how I think the EPA has performed so far in four areas regarding the RRP Rule.  EPA is welcome to offer their own self assessment score.


Subject: Outreach about the rule

EPA has claimed to have done extensive outreach to consumers and the regulated community.  They list a variety of methods used and places where ads and announcements were placed.  

Report Card Score: D-

EPA RRP outreach resultsIn reality what they have done has not been effective.  Either the message is not effective, the placement is not effective or both.  According to a survey done by Professional Remodeler magazine 65% of remodelers surveyed estimated that less than 10% of their potential clients are aware of the rule.  Only 5 percent think more than half of homeowners know about it.

On a recent webinar with EPA Officials Regarding RRP Public Awareness and Enforcement Efforts hosted by NCHH, I asked EPA officials if they were doing any tracking to check the actual effectiveness of their outreach efforts.  They are not.  Essentially the answer was that EPA is not a professional marketing organization and has no way of tracking results.   But they said they will be doing more outreach…


Subject: Getting Firms Certified

EPA requires all firms doing renovation, repair and painting work on homes built prior to 1978 become EPA Certified Firms before performing or offering to perform such work.

Report Card Score: F

Number of EPA certified firms

Before the rule rule came into effect EPA stated; "There are approximately 211,000 firms estimated to become certified to engage in renovation, repair, or painting activities." As of posting this blog EPA’s web site claims that EPA has certified 97,746 firms (118,885 firms including those approved by authorized states).  According to a report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, the most recent government census showed more than 650,000 businesses received a majority of their revenue by providing remodeling services in 2007 and that number does not include the large number of part-time, semi-retired, and “moonlighting” contractors reporting gross revenues of less than $25,000.   I think we also know there are many illegally operating contractors as well that did not make it into the census count. 

Number of remodeling contractors

Admittedly not all remodeling companies work on pre-1978 homes.  However, there are many other business types other than remodelers who disturb lead paint.  One example is exterminators.  According to Exterminator.com there are over 20,000 extermination companies in the US.  Others who would need to become certified include landlords, property management firms, banks that own foreclosed properties, housing authorities, cities/towns and municipalities. (According to Google answers there are 18,443 cities, towns, villages, and other such governing groups in the United States, not including any island areas other than Puerto Rico) I am sure you could list other business and entity types that would fall under the rule.  My best guess is that EPA has only certified about 10% of the firms that should be certified and has completely misjudge the number of firms affected by this rule.

As a side note, I contacted EPA to find out how many workers have become Certified Renovators so far.  I was told they are still trying to decide how to count them…


Subject: Enforcement

There are 12 states that have taken over the rule so far.  That leaves 38 states plus American Samoa, District of Columbia, Guam, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico under administration and enforcement by EPA. 

Report Card Score: F

RRP ViolationsSo far EPA has only published one violation since the rule came into effect in April of 2010.  On the other hand the state of Massachusetts took over the rule in July of 2012 and has published over 20 violation enforcements to date.

Though not confirmable facts, one commenter on a LinkedIn discussion claimed “there are only 37 Certified Firms in Maui County when there are 1,500+ Licensed Contractors and double to triple unlicensed contractors”.

Industry insiders report EPA has been doing RRP investigations.  EPA claims we will hear more about violations and enforcement very soon.


Subject: Protecting children and others from lead poisoning due to renovations

 “The purpose of the Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule is to minimize exposure from lead-based paint dust during renovation, repair, or painting activities. This is a key effort in reducing the prevalence of childhood lead poisoning, particularly lead poisoning caused by housing contaminated by renovation activities. This will also minimize exposure to older children and adults who are also adversely impacted by lead-based paint dust exposure.”  (From EPA Web site)  

Report Card Score: Incomplete

Is RRP effective, is RRP workingIt is a fact that lead is poisonous and RRP activities can cause poisoning. However, EPA does not know how many children were actually poisoned by RRP activities before the rule came into effect.  If you check any of the data it refers to RRP activities as the “likely source” of lead poisoning, not “the cause”.   That being the case, EPA has no way to know if the RRP rule is making a difference or not.  It is ‘likely” that it is helping.  But, without knowing where EPA started and where we are now that the rule has been in place for almost a year, EPA has no idea if what they have been doing is effective enough and or if or where it can improve effectiveness within the rule. 

Unfortunately, the rule may also be causing more children to be poisoned than before the rule came into effect, because of EPA's inability to adequately enforce it.  As reported in this press release, to keep costs down, consumers are hiring non-certified firms to work on their homes and the required lead safe-practices are not being used.  Also, contractors are reporting that some realtors and insurance adjusters are falsely telling consumers that the rule does not apply at their homes based on location and or for the work they are having done.  All of this has fostered an underground economy of contractors taking advantage of purposely ignoring the rule to keep prices down and improve their ability to sell jobs.


How do you think EPA has been doing with the RRP Rule so far?  Consider using the comment area below to offer your own subjects and report card scores.

Topics: Effects of the RRP Rule, Statistics, Opinions from Renovators, Health Effects of Lead, Authorized States, Firm Certification, Enforcement and Inspections, Violation Reports

A Message From The Lead Paint Police: It’s Not What You Think...

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

A Message From The Lead Paint Police: It’s Not What You Think..

Bet you thought this would be about EPA enforcement! 

Lead PoliceActually this is about helping spread the word to children and parents about avoiding the dangers of lead exposure.  

In the video below Sesame Street characters sing a song that gets that message into the heads of young children.  Apparently, for whatever reason, children love the characters and the song.    This is further evidenced by this quote found with the video on YouTube:

“This is the only thing I remember from 4th grade. Some kid made the teacher replay this song 10 times...”




Protect family from lead poisoningI suggest renovators could use this video on their website.  Consider creating an area on your site dedicated to the RRP Rule.  Make it a place that offers information, advice and links that would help visitors understand the rule and the realities of lead exposure.  If you do so you can send prospects and customers to your site to help pre-educate them prior to a sales call or before beginning work at their home.  

This video is just one of many on YouTube about lead and the RRP rule.  Get creative.  Use some key word searches to find and then embed videos on your site.

Check out this RRPedia article for additional links you can use on your web site:

Resources About Lead and the EPA RRP Rule for Home Owners and Contractors


Topics: Videos, Sales Considerations, Marketing Considerations, Health Effects of Lead, Non-RRP Lead Topics

Is Low Level Exposure To Lead A Big Deal? Here is Your Answer…

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Mar 25, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

Is Low Level Exposure To Lead A Big Deal?  Here is Your Answer…

Before you decide to use the RRP Opt Out if/when it comes back, consider the information below.  Will you, your clients, their kids and your employees be at risk if you do not use lead-safe work practices?

Pompeii skeleton



 While the toxicity associated with exposure to high levels of lead was recognized by the ancient Greeks and Romans, the adverse health effects associated with low-level lead exposure only became widely recognized in the second half of the 20th century.  Over the past 40 years, epidemiological studies, particularly in children, continue to provide evidence of health effects at lower and lower blood lead levels.

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) concludes that there is sufficient evidence for adverse health effects in children and adults at blood Pb levels below 10μg/dL and below 5μg/dL as well.  The table below provides a summary of effect by life stage at which the effect is identified.


National Toxicology Program logo



Note: This information was found in a document published by NTP titled:

Draft NTP Monograph on Health Effects of Low-Level Lead, dated 10/14/11


Topics: Opt Out Related, Statistics, Health Effects of Lead, Non-RRP Lead Topics, Personal Protection

Guest Blog: Weighing In On The RRP Opt Out

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Mar 08, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

Guest Blog: Weighing In On The RRP Opt Out

Peter Lawton


Guest Blogger: Peter Lawton had his first lead safe training in 1997 while operating his design/build remodeling firm designPLUS in the greater Boston area. Today he is the founder and senior principle trainer for LeadSMART Training Solutions which trains contractors in areas of lead remodeling and OSHA safety standards. His classes are held throughout New England as well as occasionally on the west coast as well.  Peter can be reached at peter@leadsmarttraining.com or visit his training schedule at www.leadsmarttraining.com .


Opt Out..... Weighing In

Opinions about RRP opt outBoth sides of this issue have valid points to consider. Before we make rash decisions have we looked at the entire picture? We can do better than our politicians, but we must think before we act.

Isn't it a bit odd that months before an election some politician comes out of the woodwork and puts forth this bill? Where was this senator a year ago? How much research and thought went into addressing the bigger picture? Are we being used again as pawns by tapping our emotions and not our intelligence for votes? Do you really feel this is all that stands between you and having enough work?


Here are a few questions/comments I believe this bill ignores:

  • Lead in ConstructionWhether the Opt Out comes back or not, what about the employees of the firms who intend on using this option? Did anyone ask those who are actually doing the work how they feel about their health risks? Will they have a voice without retaliation?
  • Is OSHA going to come up with a "you must protect your workers’ health UNLESS the customer gave you permission to work unprotected" clause? My bet is OSHA will stand firm on 1926.62 (Lead in Construction). In fact, if you have employees, EPA is irrelevant with whatever they decide to do.
  • How about extending the OPT OUT to state that the homeowner releases his or her civil right to sue the contractor should anything go wrong?
  • For those of you who think this is all BS, how about signing a waiver that says my tax dollars won’t be used to pay for related health care for you, your family, your workers or your clients who might get sick due to the work you perform?
  • If any of you perform HUD work, do you really feel they will buckle from their standards?

Anything that can improve our economy is worth looking at. I am not sure this is the answer everyone has been looking for – can’t we come up with a better solution than Bill #S 2148?

Working lead safeI believe this law can create marketing and positioning opportunities to those who see it this way and in the process, keeps everyone safe  – and for those who see it differently, it’s obviously a never ending source of complaints which has divided our industry at a time when we need each others’ back more than ever.

Stay Healthy,

Peter Lawton, President, LeadSMART Training Solutions


Topics: Effects of the RRP Rule, Opt Out Related, Guest Blogs, Opinions from Renovators, Health Effects of Lead, Work Practices, Personal Protection

CLPPP: Obama’s Omnibus Bill Puts Children at Risk of Lead Poisoning

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Feb 17, 2012 @ 03:11 PM

CLPPP Says Obama’s Omnibus Bill Slashes CDC Funding; Puts Children at Risk of Lead Poisoning

CDC Budget cutsOne big reality of the current recession is the need for everyone to cut back their budgets.  This holds true for most Americans, businesses and nonprofits.   It has now also started to become a reality for our government.  A recent discussion posted to LinkedIn includes a link to an article that is titledPresident Obama: Restore funding to help lead poisoned children!”  The article explains how President Obama’s Omnibus bill slashes CDC funding for its healthy homes and lead poisoning prevention program by 94%, leaving half a million lead poisoned children without the full services they need in the coming year.

The fact is there is less money available and use of the money that is available needs to be prioritized.  It is also important to recognize that as Americans we are all entitled to our opinions, so it is only natural that there are many views for defining that prioritization. 

In this new economy perhaps everyone needs to rethink how we invest.  Organizations like CLPPP do great things for our society. However their ability to do so has been based on being and continuing to be SUBSIDIZED by the government.  Due to economic realities its time such organizations rethink how they use OUR money, because we are running out of it unless we print more.  If they use (or had used) the money they receive to STIMULATE their ability to exist perhaps they would be able to keep accomplishing their purpose without as much money from our government.

Who Moved My Cheese


Remember the book titled “Who Moved My Cheese”?  With the predictable reality of reduced subsidies becoming the norm due to this economy, organizations like CLPPP could (and should) use the limited funds they will have going forward in a different way. Perhaps knowing funding would likely become tight; they should have already changed their strategies like the smart mouse in the book.   For example:

  • Why not use their funds to get the EPA to actually enforce the RRP rule? 

  • How about use the money to find and publicly expose the businesses doing RRP work without the required training and firm certification?  

  • Why not use the money to check for building permit applications on pre 1978 housing that were approved and granted to businesses that are not EPA certified firms? 

  • Why not send CLPPP staff out into the communities they serve on the weekends to find and help DIY parents doing RRP work on their homes without the use or even the knowledge of lead-safe work practices?  

  • Why not teach inner city parents how to clean their homes in lead-safe ways that contain and capture lead dust, not put it back into the air and spread it around more?

The fact is that these example tactics could help accomplish the same goal of helping children and all of my examples would be proactive, significantly decreasing the number of children becoming lead poisoned by RRP activities and other sources of lead dust to begin with.

Prevent lead poisoningDoesn’t it make sense to concentrate funding on efforts that would prevent lead poisoning to begin with, rather than justify that money from the government is needed to help those already poisoned?  Why is it they are they still getting poisoned?  Plus, it would probably be much less expensive to prevent the problem than it would be to deal with it after it has occurred.

Just like independent small businesses with tight budgets, in a tight economy organizations like CLPPP and others must rethink how they do what they do so they can reduce their costs but at the same time become more effective at what they do.   In this new economy we all must find new ways to do business so we can continue operations and serve our customers the best way possible.

Topics: Health Effects of Lead, Non-RRP Lead Topics

RRP Training Refresher: Health Risks of Lead

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 @ 06:00 AM

RRP Training Refresher: Health Risks of Lead

RRPedia Refresher Key


It’s probably been a while since you took your RRP Certified Renovator Training Class.  This blog post is offered as a refresher topic to help you keep important details about the RRP rule top of mind when selling, estimating or performing RRP renovations.


Lead poisoning does not always have obvious symptoms

The symptoms of lead poisoning are often non-specific, and are frequently attributed to other causes.  Specific symptoms that people with lead exposure sometimes complain of include:
  • Headache
  • Stomach ache
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Joint and/or muscle pain
Because many symptoms are non-specific or similar to flu symptoms, parents may not be alerted to get immediate medical attention for their children. This is critical for young children. The longer a young child stays untreated, the higher the risk of permanent brain damage.

Blood test for Lead PaintWorkers with an occupational exposure to lead need to inform their doctors in order to give them all the background needed for an adequate evaluation of symptoms as possibly related to lead exposure.

The best way to determine if lead is present in the body is by testing blood.

Children under six are most at risk from small amounts of lead.

Children are at a greater risk than adults because their bodies are developing. During normal and frequent playing or hand-to-mouth activity, children may swallow or inhale dust from their hands, toys, food or other objects.

In children, lead can cause:

  • Lead Poisoning can cause ADDNervous system and kidney damage.
  • Decreased intelligence, attention deficit disorder, and learning disabilities.
  • Speech, language, and behavior problems.

Among adults, pregnant women are especially at risk from exposure to lead.

Lead is passed from the mother to the fetus and can cause:

  • Lead Poisoning can affect pregnant womenMiscarriages
  • Premature births
  • Brain damage
  • Low birth weight


Are you noticing any of the following about yourself or your co-workers?

Health effects of lead in adults include:

  • Lead Poisoning can cause mental issuesHigh blood pressure
  • Fertility problems in men and women
  • Health affects of lead paintDigestive problems
  • Nerve disorders
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Sexual disorders
  • Muscle or joint pain.

Topics: Refresher Information, Health Effects of Lead

Thoughts About Lead Poisoning for Hunters and Their Dinner Guests

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Feb 14, 2012 @ 06:00 AM

Thoughts About Lead Poisoning for Hunters and Their Dinner Guests

avoiding Lead poisoning cooking wild game, International and domestic studies have shown elevated lead levels in humans consuming large and small game hunted with lead ammunition.  Studies prove that regular consumption of game meat in adults and children found elevated blood lead levels compared with background levels, especially among children.   

In terms of lead ingestion, risk is dependent on how much lead is consumed and the frequency of exposure; therefore, limiting the total amount of lead exposure reduces harm. Factors that increase dietary lead exposure from spent lead bullet fragments in wild game include:

•The frequency and amount of hunted game that a person consumes.

•The age of the person consuming the meat.

•The degree of bullet fragmentation.

•The path which the bullet enters the wildlife.

•The care with which the meat surrounding the bullet wound is removed

•The use of any acidic treatments of the meat that would dissolve the lead (such as coating the carcass with vinegar or use of acidic marinades in cooking), which can increase exposure.

•Fragmentation that occurs due to the bullet hitting something hard (e.g., bone).

Important Considerations When Processing Your Bounty:Venison Sausage

There is expected to be a higher incidence of lead bullet fragments in ground meats than in loins or roasts because meat trimmed away from the bullet channel can contain more fragments. This is because the muscle tissue around the wound channel is not discarded, but rather is used in burger, stews, and sausages.   It is recommended that the tissue around the wound channel be removed during food preparation.

Variation in lead concentrations in small animals such as birds is large, most likely due to the shooting skill of the hunter. Birds where the hunter has not destroyed the body in killing it will have less lead exposure when consumed.

When preparing venison, avoiding vinegar and other acidic substances is suggested, as acids can make lead more soluble and therefore more readily absorbed in the body. Also, when processing, minimizing the batching of multiple deer is thought to reduce cross-contamination.

Ways to avoid the problem:

Lead vs copper bulletsYou could switch to archery!  If that is not an option for you consider use of non-toxic ammunition.  Currently, the US Fish and Wildlife Service approves the use of 11 types of non-toxic shell-shot with various material compositions. For example shell-shot is available in steel, bismuth, tungsten, and tin.  Also, bullets are available in copper and metal alloys.  The picture to the left shows he difference when a lead and a copper bullet were fired into a barrell.  The copper bullet mushroomed while its lead counterpart shredded during a recent demonstration at Waterloo, Wisc. Gun Club.

This information was summerized from "Lead Issues at National Park Service Units:Identifying Potential Sources and Minimizing Exposure" by the National Park Service Office of Public Health

Topics: Health Effects of Lead, Non-RRP Lead Topics

Contractors Sound Off About RRP Rule and Dust Wipe Amendment

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Jun 24, 2011 @ 05:17 PM

Contractors Sound Off About RRP Rule and Dust Wipe Amendment


RRP NewsThanks to PR activities by NARI, Wall Street Journal Blogger Sarah E. Needleman wrote a blog regarding the increased costs to both contractors and homeowners related to the RRP rule and the potential additional increase in costs should the EPA go forward with its proposed Dust Wipe Clearance amendment.  The article is just one of very few where the media has really taken the time to understand the impact of the RRP rule and provide accurate information for their readers.  Kudos to Needleman!


The blog was posted on June 23, 2011 at 4:35PM.   At the time of writing this, exactly 24 hours later to the minute, there were already over 80 comments left by contractors expressing their opinions and concerns about the rule as well as their disappointment in our government for allowing such a shortsighted regulation. 

RRP Contractor sounds offMany point out that one of the consequences of the rule is that now more children have been put at risk for lead poisoning; for two reasons.  The first is due to the fact that illegally operating contractors are under-bidding compliant contractors because they are ignoring the required lead-safe work practices and therefore creating lead hazards.  The second is that homeowners are either doing the work themselves and or doing the demolition stage of the work themselves to avoid the added costs related to the rule’s required lead-safe work practices.


Ben Franklin quoteAs Ben Franklin once said:  “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”


I encourage all contractors to check out the blog and leave a comment of their own.  NARI will be using the comments in their efforts to provide evidence of the rule’s impact and negative consequences as they meet with government officials and politicians in their efforts to get the EPA to recognize its shortsighted approaches to the rule. 

Also, I encourage you to check out this RRPedia post for a list of additional ways the rule will affect contractors, homeowners and our great country.  Please consider forwarding a link to this RRPedia blog post to other contractors and homeowners and ask they read about the consequences of the rule; then use what they have learned to add comments at Needleman’s blog.


Here is the link, please copy it and send it to others who can help all of us hang together for our common good!

Follow this link to find out about the negative consequences of the EPA RRP Rule and leave your comments.


Topics: Effects of the RRP Rule, Opinions from Renovators, Health Effects of Lead

Lead Poisoning Is Growing In Belmont MA

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, May 03, 2011 @ 06:00 AM

Lead Poisoning Is Growing In Belmont MA

On Sunday April 24, 2011 I read an article in the Boston Sunday Globe by Erica Noonan titled Back to the GardenThe article was about the Victory Gardens in Belmont MA.   Noonan did a great job describing the history of gardens, who uses them, how people decorate them and what people are growing in them ranging from flowers to food.  What caught my eye was a picture of an old wooden window sash used to decorate one of the gardens.  I instantly suspected the sash could contain lead paint and if so, could cause serious health concerns.  On Monday afternoon I stopped by the Gardens to check it out.  The video below tells the story.  



As you can see from the video gardeners are definitely bringing lead paint into the gardens.  As the paint breaks down due to age and exposure to the elements the lead dust and chips are falling and/or are  being washed by the rain onto the ground contaminating the soil being used by the gardeners.  In addition to window sashes I also found and tested several gates, boards and doors that also contained lead paint.

I suggest gardeners everywhere need to be aware of the risks they take on when using old painted materials in their gardens.  Of course it is best to not bring items containing lead or lead paint into your garden, but unfortunately someone else may have already done so in the past.  Also, if you plant a garden next to the walls of an older home, it is best to assume the soil is contaminated with lead.  Years of peeling, scraping, sanding and repainting of the siding on a home can drop lead chips and dust onto the soils around your home.  Without testing you will never know if the soil has been contaminated.

Lead Contaminated vegtablesOn a web site by the name of BelmontPatch.com one of the gardeners, Marilyn Decource, commented about the gardens:
It's wonderful, she said, to have the community garden plot so close to her home where she can come a few hours to tend her plants every other day.  "It's good to be able to eat something organic. You really can't get vegetables this good at a grocery store."   Perhaps part of her success in the plot is that she doesn't use pesticides or fertilizer but does sprinkle a layer of compost over the entire garden, Decourcey said. This year, she added a layer of manure to the soil.

Marilyn might want to do a little research about gardening in lead contaminated soils before assuming her vegetables are safe to eat.  Click here to learn about the signs of lead poisoning.

To be safe, gardeners should do their own research if they suspect their garden may contain lead.  Here is some information I found at the Cornell University website about gardening in lead contaminated soils:
When gardening in lead contaminated soils, safety measures should be taken.

  • Wear gloves, or wash hands thoroughly after gardening and especially before eating, and be sure small children do not eat garden soil. Gardeners can bring lead-contaminated soil into the house on shoes and clothes, increasing levels of lead soil and dust in the home. This is especially a concern for crawling toddlers and infants. Remember that children tend to be at a greater risk of lead exposure from soils when the soil is directly taken into the body.
  • Plants may absorb some of the lead present in soil through their roots. Any lead that is absorbed tends to concentrate in leaves and the outer part of roots, so peel root crops such as beets, carrots, turnips, and radishes before eating.
  • Grow vegetables that produce edible fruits such as tomato, peppers, cucumber, squash, etc. Lead absorption into plants does not concentrate in the fruits.
  • If your soil has a lead contamination problem, grow fewer edible fruits and vegetables and more flowers, trees and shrubs.


RRP Warning signLike construction workers who are exposed to lead in the course of their work, Gardeners should also consider that their skin and their clothes may become contaminated.  Always wash your hands immediately after gardening and definitely before eating, drinking or smoking to avoid ingesting lead dust.   To reduce the risk of bringing lead contaminated soil into the home, rinse and launder gardening clothing promptly.  Being educated about the dangers of lead and ways to protect yourself as well as your family can help make sure you’re not growing a lead problem in your garden.  

If you would like more information about the Belmont Victory Gardens click here, or contact Conservation Commission Agent Mary Trudeau in the Office of Community Development at 617-993-2667 or mtrudeau@belmont-ma.gov

Topics: Videos, Health Effects of Lead, Non-RRP Lead Topics, Personal Protection

Does Economy Buster RRP Have Any Factual Basis?: Guest Blog

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Mar 08, 2011 @ 06:00 AM

Does Economy Buster RRP Have Any Factual Basis?  

Ray Douglas

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.

Number of children poisoned by lead


Dollars spent on remodeling

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.”

RRP SignWhen 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:

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”.  

RRP LettersSince 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.  



Topics: Effects of the RRP Rule, Letters to send to Politicians, Sales Considerations, Guest Blogs, Statistics, Opinions from Renovators, Health Effects of Lead