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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.


You Can Browse For RRP Topics By Using The Tags List To The Right

Wisconsin DHS Has Approved LeadCheck Test Kits for RRP Use

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 @ 05:05 PM

Wisconsin DHS Has Approved LeadCheck Test Kits for RRP Use

Wisconsin Department of Health Services


According to a letter sent to 3M on Wednesday June 27, 2012 by the Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health, the state of Wisconsin has just approved the use of 3M’s LeadCheck test kit for use under the state’s Lead Safe Renovation Rule.   Wisconsin is one of the states that has taken over enforcement and administration of the RRP rule from EPA.  They did so on April 22, 2010.


How and why it was approved

LeadCheck Test KitAfter review of regulatory requirements and test kit performance measures the Wisconsin Department of Health Services  has concluded that the 3M LeadCheck test kit can reliably determine that lead-based paint is not present on wood, ferrous metal (alloys that contain iron), drywall and plaster substrates.

According to the letter: “Therefore, immediately, the Department recognizes the 3M LeadCheck paint test kit for use in Wisconsin limited to the negative response criteria under s.DHS 163.16 (2) (a) when performed by certified lead-safe renovators following the manufacturer’s instructions.”

According to the letter the Department has determined that using the negative response criterion alone is as protective of human health and the environment because a false positive would require a renovator to follow the lead-safe renovations when they would not have been necessary and therefore would be overly protective rather than less protective of human health and the environment.


Still hoping for a reliable and affordable quantitative test kit

Cost of RRP


Still hoping for a test kit that meets both the negative and positive response criteria, the letter clarifies that this recognition will remain in place until such time a kit that does both becomes available.   The current test kits are only accurate enough to determine whether lead is present or not (qualitative test), not indicate how much lead is present (qualitative).  

EPA had assumed a reliable quantitative test kit would be available by September of 2012 when it wrote their RRP Rule, but no kits with that ability have been recognized by EPA or any other state program.  According to EPA’s own research, the lack of a quantitative test kit has doubled the number of projects requiring lead-safe work practices, projects that otherwise would not have required those practices if a quantitative test kit were available. Read this RRPedia article for more clarification on this subject.

The Department plans to place Information about the new recognition on the lead program website and will provide information about the recognition to all Wisconsin training providers offering accredited lead-safe renovation courses.  As of posting this blog the department’s website did not have information about the test kit recognition.

Update 7/11/12:

Information about the test kit recognition and approved method of use has been posted to the department's web site.

Guidelines for Wisconsin Renovators

For the benefit of those working on target housing and child occupied facilities in Wisconsin, the DHS offers the following guidance documents for those who must comply with the state’s Lead-Safe Renovation Rule.

Guidelines for Certified Abatement Workers and Supervisors

Guidelines for Renovation Contractors and Painters

Guidelines for Plumbers, HVAC, Fire Control

Guidelines for Rental Property Managers



Topics: Info for Landlords, Amendments, Wisconsin Lead-Safe Renovation Rule, Lead Test Kits and Testing

Congress Introduces Another Amendment to RRP Rule June 7, 2012

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Jun 07, 2012 @ 08:22 PM

Congress Introduces Another Amendment to the RRP Rule on June 7, 2012

Congress introduces RRP amendment on June 7, 2012Today, according to an article by NAHB posted to the website HousingZone, Congressmen John Sullivan (R-Okla.) and Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) introduced H.R. 5911, the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012, to improve the lead paint rule for remodelers who must comply with the costly work practices and record keeping requirements of the rule.

According to the article the amendment provisions include return of opt-out clause and limitations on expanding the rule.  I am not sure or clear at this time regarding exactly what this new amendment includes or the purpose of the amendment.  However the article indicates that H.R. 5911 is companion legislation to S.2148 introduced in March and responds to concerns from NAHB Remodelers and affiliated trade groups.


According to NAHB, The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012 will:

  • RRP Amendments neededReinstate the opt-out provision to allow homeowners without small children or pregnant women residing in them to decide whether to require LRRP compliance, not the government.
  • Suspend the LRRP if EPA does not approve a commercially available test kit that meets the regulation’s requirements.
  • Allow remodelers the “right to cure” paperwork errors found during an inspection.
  • Eliminate the “hands-on” recertification training requirements.
  • Prohibit EPA from expanding the LRRP to commercial and public buildings until at least one year after the agency conducts a study demonstrating the need for such an action.
  • Clarify the definition of “abatement” to specifically exclude remodeling and renovation activities.
  • Provide an exemption to the regulation for emergency renovations.


Topics: EPA RRP Rule Updates, Opt Out Related, Lead Test Kits and Testing

RRP Rule: Is it a Sheep in Wolf's Clothing?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, May 23, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

RRP Rule: Is it a Sheep in Wolf's Clothing?

Joe Levitch


One Person’s Opinion: This is a guest blog submitted by Joe Levitch of Levco Builders to express his opinion.  Joe is a remodeling contractor and he is also a Licensed Lead Inspector, Licensed Risk assessor  and the owner of Lead Locators, a lead inspection firm in Boise Idaho. 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.


Is RRP a Sheep in Wolf's Clothing?

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?

It has been 2 years now and the EPA's RRP rule has been an enigma to deal with. What I envisioned as game changing regulation has turned out to be a sheep in wolfs clothing. I expected a year of educating the public through infomercials and campaigns, Then some head turning enforcement. Sadly I was and have been consistently disappointed. I expected my fellow remodelers to understand intuitively that the old days of dusty demolition were over and adopt the new rules, but there I go again over estimating my industry.

Resistance to change seems to dominate

Turns out remodelers like everyone else wants to do as little as possible and get by. Change is painful I suppose, most would rather spend energy disputing scientific facts than getting their act together and incorporating lead testing and LSWP into their SOP'S.

I have talked till blue in the face about the federal law and the mandate that RRP imposed back in April of 2010 but in my little hamlet of Boise Idaho there has been no known enforcement. I do see a trend however in the industry. We are getting a few more requests to verify contractors are using Best Practices when LSWP is in process. I am also getting an up tic in the number of test requests for lead testing, so the news is not all bad.

OSHA Lead in Construction


There have been a few reports of fines, but they are not close to home or particularly relevant to the remodeling industry. Most are for failure to use the Renovate Right Booklet. OSHA has become a bit more worrisome to contractors than it used to be. Their requirements are far more burdensome and onerous. I seriously doubt many remodeling firms are in compliance with their rules.

Lead Awareness Committee

Contractors are "Leaded-Out"

I still sense a general disdain for the RRP rule along with general confusion, but a reluctant sluggish move towards compliance.

I set up a Lead Awareness committee for my NARI group and after an enthusiastic push to get everyone up to date and compliant, I was told to back off with the education and speakers " We are a little leaded-out right now"

I have had no problem explaining to my clients that lead testing saves money. Perhaps it is just the delivery I use? Doing leaded work has been difficult. I can see how one can develop heat exhaustion or worse in little or no time. Monitor your folks for hydration and schedule cooling off time.

On testing and the Opt-Out

I am saddened by remodeling organizations asking congress to repeal RRP or allow opt out. It is a huge step backwards. Having swabs check for lead in drywall and plaster was a foolish thing to allow too. I read that there is a 98% false positive when used in this way. That is why the EPA could care less. (Click here for clarity on false positives)

The swabs test for the presence of lead. We don't need to do LSWP unless there is over 1mg/cm 2.  3M is laughing all the way to the bank, homeowners and contractors alike are using LSWP unnecessarily in many cases now.

XRF GunMy advice to every remodeler is to find a company with an XRF that can do a test and produce a report that can be used as a tool to deal with lead above the regulatory limit. Get fluent in using LSWP. Check each other to make sure no one is poisoning their clients or their pets and lets be professional about it.

My company has teamed up with some painters that are certified firms and have done testing on all proposed renovations on all pre '78 homes. Many of them are leaded, most have only a few components that require LSWP. We have also had tiles tested and found a many of them to be leaded in a very high percentage. I believe tile should be assumed to be leaded and demolished with care.

Let's do the right thing

In closing I applaud those that have incorporated RRP into their business. The EPA has been looking into new ways to track compliance and performing enforcement. I encourage those that are resisting change to get on board before the EPA fines you, or worse, you make someone sick.  Ask those of us that are dealing with the rule how we have managed and let's set ourselves apart from our competition by doing the right thing.

Topics: Opt Out Related, Guest Blogs, OSHA Considerations, Opinions from Renovators, Lead Test Kits and Testing, Enforcement and Inspections

3M Press Release About Recognition for Drywall and Plaster

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Apr 13, 2012 @ 10:55 AM

3M™ LeadCheck™ Swabs Gain EPA Recognition for Drywall and Plaster


Press Release:

Newest recognition gives contractors a simple, inexpensive choice to test for lead and help win bids under the EPA RRP rule

3M leadcheck test kitsST. PAUL, Minn. — 3M LeadCheck Swabs, the simple way to test for lead and assist in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP), are now recognized by the EPA for use on drywall and plaster.

3M LeadCheck Swabs were the first commercially available lead test kit recognized by the EPA for use on painted wood and metal. Now with EPA recognition on surfaces including wood, metal, plaster and drywall, 3M LeadCheck Swabs provide a quick and simple way for certified renovators to test for lead and take steps to RRP compliance, all with one easy test kit.


“We are hearing from contractors that they are pleased to have an easy, low-cost option that’s now recognized for use on drywall and plaster,” said Wade Bowman, brand manager, 3M Construction and Home Improvement Markets. “In just 30 seconds, the 3M LeadCheck Swabs turn red if lead is present. Now contractors can choose to do their testing with one simple test kit.”

To achieve the latest EPA recognition for drywall and plaster, 3M LeadCheck Swabs underwent a rigorous testing process. The testing process and results were reviewed and approved by the EPA and took into account factors such as ease of use, toxicity of chemicals used, average cost and average time of kit operation as well as overall performance.

“We worked hard with the EPA to produce a reliable test with steps that are easy to follow,” said Bowman. “We want to help take some of the burden off the contractor. “

Since April 22, 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting (RRP) projects in pre-1978 homes, schools and daycare facilities are required to be certified and follow lead-safe work practices. This EPA-issued RRP Rule is aimed at preventing lead poisoning.

When used by a certified renovator, 3M LeadCheck Swabs are EPA-recognized to determine that lead-based paint is not present on wood, metal, plaster and drywall, making them an important tool when following the RRP Rule.

3M LeadCheck Swabs are widely recognized as the fastest, easiest, most cost-effective lead detection product on the market. The LeadCheck brand has been at the forefront of lead detection and awareness since 1992. At less than $5 a swab, it’s a tool to help RRP-certified contractors win jobs.

3M LeadCheck Swabs are available nationwide at home centers, hardware and paint stores as well as online and are sold in 2-packs, 8-packs, and contractor packs of 48 swabs.

For more information about 3M LeadCheck Swabs visit www.3MLeadCheck.com. For more on how to use LeadCheck on drywall and plaster visit http://leadcheck.com/using-leadcheck-on-plaster-and-drywall.

About 3M

3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the innovation company that never stops inventing. With $30 billion in sales, 3M employs 84,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 65 countries. For more information, visit www.3M.com or follow @3MNews on Twitter.


Robert Brittain                                                           

3M Public Relations                                                                           




Jenna Thomas
Cohn & Wolfe


3M and LeadCheck are trademarks of 3M.

© 2012 3M



Topics: Lead Test Kits and Testing

Video Instructions For Testing DryWall and Plaster Using Lead Check

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Apr 10, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

Video Instructions For Testing DryWall and Plaster Using Lead Check


EPA LogoRecently, EPA recognized the LeadCheck Test Kits for testing drywall and plaster for lead under the RRP rule.

Below is an old video with instructions for testing drywall and plaster using LeadCheck.  The video was created by Hybrivet, the manufacturer of LeadCheck before it was recently bought out by the current manufacturer 3M.  This video was produced before the RRP Rule came into effect and before EPA recognized LeadCheck for testing drywall and plaster.  I contacted 3M to see if the video instructions below were accurate for RRP purposes. 


3M logo3M reported that they are temporarily using the video until a new video is released.  The major change 3M will make to the video will include the following language:


"Carefully rub the swab around the periphery of the peeled back flap, taking care not to contact the drywall (gypsum) or plaster. Only rub the swab on all layers of paint found on the flap. Do not rub the swab in the pocket."

The current video can be found at the 3M LeadCheck Web site.   As soon as the new video becomes available I will post it here on RRPedia to replace this video.


Topics: EPA RRP Rule Updates, Lead Test Kits and Testing

Using LeadCheck To Test Drywall And Plaster Surfaces Is Easy!

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

Using LeadCheck To Test Paint On Drywall (Gypsum) And Plaster Surfaces Is Easy!

LeadCheck on drywall and plasterEPA has recently updated recognition of the 3M™ LeadCheck™ for use on drywall and plaster.  Below are the specific instructions from the manufacturer, 3M, for conducting testing of drywall and plaster for lead.   These instructions must be followed by the certified renovator for the test results to be recognized under the RRP rule by EPA.  I think the key point to remember when doing such testing is that you are testing the paint, not the drywall:


Sanding drywall


Instructions for using LeadCheck to test drywall and plaster:

Sulfates present in drywall (gypsum) and plaster dust can interfere with 3M™ LeadCheck™ Swabs color development. It is possible with a minimum amount of care to accurately test for lead paint on plaster surfaces with 3M™ LeadCheck™ Swabs.

Testing drywall and plaster with LeadChecka) With a clean utility knife, make a nickel sized half circle cut at a low angle (about 5 degrees) cutting down to the bare drywall (gypsum) and plaster core to expose all layers of paint. Make the cut as seen in figure A.

b) Fold down the semicircular flap with the knife blade so that it forms a pocket.

c) Using an activated 3M™ LeadCheck™ Swab, hold the swab above the cut allowing the 3M™ LeadCheck™ reagent to flow into the pocket making sure that the liquid contacts all layers of paint both in the cut itself and the peeled back flap. Carefully rub the swab around the periphery of the peeled back flap, taking care not to contact the drywall (gypsum) or plaster. Only rub the swab on all layers of paint found on the flap. Do not rub the swab in the pocket.

d) If lead is present, a pink or red color will develop along the edges of the cut, flap, or swab tip usually within 30 seconds.

e) If no pink or red color develops, immediately confirm the negative result by squeezing a drop of the 3M™ LeadCheck™ reagent onto one of the confirmation card dots. It should turn red immediately.


Topics: EPA RRP Rule Updates, Worker Training, Lead Test Kits and Testing

Updates on MA RRP Rule From The MA Department of Labor Standards

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Apr 03, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

Updates on MA RRP Rule From The MA Department of Labor Standards

MA Department of Labor StandardsAs EPA amends the RRP rule, renovators working in states that have taken over the rule from EPA need to know if and how these states incorporate the changes into their own rule.   Yesterday I inquired with the State of Massachusetts to find out about a few recent amendments and changes.

One of the good things about the state of Massachusetts taking over the RRP rule is that communications with the Department of Labor Standards (DLS) is much easier and much quicker than trying to get answers from EPA.  I also find their staff is much more informed and always helpful.  The Q&A below was conducted completely via email (I sent the questions out of the blue) and I got a complete and what I would call an intuitive response in less than 4 hours!  Credit to the DLS!


Here is the Q&A

Paint chip samplingQuestion: Can you tell me if MA allows the lead safe renovation supervisor to take paint chip samples same as EPA does?

DLS Answer: Massachusetts incorporates the federal protocol by reference in our regulation. LSR Supervisors are authorized to sample painted surfaces in accordance with their training.  Of course, they must do adequate sampling for different painting histories of surfaces, document their findings, maintain records of testing and provide documentation to the property owner as required.


Question: Does MA require that the firm provide the renovation checklist to owners and tenants within 30 days of completion of final billing, whichever comes first (just like EPA)?

DLS Answer: Yes. DLS has the same documentation requirements as the federal rule.


Question:  EPA requires towns and municipalities to become certified firms and have Certified Renovators before doing their own RRP work on town properties that are target housing and or Child Occupied Facilities.   They can however hire out the work to a Certified Firm and therefore would not need to be a Certified Firm if the work is hired out to one.  Does the Massachusetts law follow the same requirements?

DLS Answer:  Yes. Massachusetts mirrors the requirement but offers the opportunity for the fee to be waived for property owners with trained employees working on their own properties.

You can find them listed on our LSRC list published on the DLS web pages.


LeadCheck on drywall and plasterQuestion: Also, does MA now recognize LeadCheck for Drywall and Plaster?

DLS Answer: Yes.  But as usual, there is a caveat which is also applicable at the federal level.  When the trained individual takes a sample – s/he must follow the prescribed protocols.  In order to take advantage of the new approval; they must follow the new testing methods and adequately test surfaces.  In some cases, many samples must be taken in order to effectively disclude the work under the rule.

Training Providers will likely being teaching the new methods, however, those who were previously trained will need to justify that they know how to sample in order to validate their findings.  Of course, the safest path is to presume the presence of lead.


Question: Any other updates or clarifications I should know about?

DLS Answer: I know you are aware that DLS has been doing enforcement and civil penalties.  We are still interested to have the regulated community provide us feedback to provide better regulations.  I don’t have a specific date but we will certainly let you know when we are going back to public hearings to update our regulation.

Its spring and we are in the field doing compliance checks.

Topics: RRP Questions, MA RRP Licensing, Documentation Considerations, Authorized States, Amendments, MA RRP Updates, MA RRP Lead Rules, Firm Certification, Lead Test Kits and Testing, Enforcement and Inspections

Instructions For Using LeadCheck Test Kits On Drywall And Plaster

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 @ 05:57 PM

Instructions For Using LeadCheck Lead Test Kits On Drywall And Plaster

EPA Lead Paint Rule

EPA has recently updated recognition of the 3M™ LeadCheck™ for use on drywall and plaster. Currently-recognized test kits, with information including substrates upon which they can be used, can be found at http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/testkit.htm.


Lead Check Lead Test Kit

Please note that all EPA-recognized test kits must be used following the manufacturers’ instructions for the applicable substrate.

NOTE: FOR USE ON PLASTER AND DRYWALL, users of 3M™ LeadCheck™ should download updated instructions for using the test kit on plaster and drywall. The updated procedure for testing plaster and drywall is slightly different than the procedure used previously.


Instructions for using LeadCheck on drywall and plaster

Download the instructions here


3M™ LeadCheck™ test kits shipped to retail outlets after April 1, 2012, will contain the updated instructions. Kits purchased prior to April 1, 2012, or that contain the older instructions can still be used but the user must follow the updated instructions when testing plaster and drywall.


Topics: EPA RRP Rule Updates, EPA Announcements, Tools and Supplies, Lead Test Kits and Testing

LeadCheck Test Kits Now Recognized For Use On Drywall and Plaster

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 @ 10:21 PM

LeadCheck Lead Test Kits Now Recognized For Use On Drywall and Plaster


LeadCheck Test kit now approved for use on Drywall and Plaster


According to the EPA web site 3M's LeadCheck test kit is now recognized for use on drywall and plaster.  This will definitely be helpful for those renovators doing RRP work who prefer using the LeadCheck swabs.  Before EPA recognized the use of the LeadCheck test kits for drywall and plaster, renovators could only use the D-Lead Test Kits, the only other recognized test kit available to RRP renovators.  As a result of this change by EPA, now renovators have their choice of two test kits that are recognized by EPA for use on wood, ferrous metal (alloys that contain iron), or drywall and plaster surfaces under the RRP Rule.


LeadCheck Lead Test Swab


Here is what is now posted on the EPA web site:

NOTE: The EPA web site also includes a link to a fact sheet on the EPA-recognized test kits (PDF), however EPA has not updated that fact sheet yet to reflect the change.

Topics: EPA RRP Rule Updates, EPA Announcements, Lead Test Kits and Testing

Don’t Be Mislead By the Vote to Cut Off RRP Enforcement Funding

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Aug 16, 2011 @ 06:00 AM

Don’t Be Mislead By the Vote to Cut Off RRP Enforcement Funding

On July 13, 2011 the House Appropriations Committee voted to cut off funding for enforcement of the RRP Rule until a reliable test kit is recognized by EPA.  The amendment was included in the House Appropriations Bill by Representative Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.).   

Note: For clarification, a “reliable test kit” means a test kit that would be able to determine if a painted or coated surface contains lead equal to or in excess of 1.0 milligrams per square centimeter (mg/cm2) or 0.5% by weight.   The current test kits will reliably indicate whether the surface contains any lead or not, but do not measure the amount of lead. 

Unfortunately, as a result of the vote many renovators are now assuming that they no longer need to comply with the RRP rule and do not have to use lead-safe work practices on pre-1978 target housing and child occupied facilities.  If you are a renovator making that assumption it would be a big mistake that could cost you big time.  Let me explain.

First, any cut or stoppage of enforcement would only apply to states where EPA administers and enforces the rule.  It would not have any effect at all in those states that have assumed administration and enforcement of the rule from EPA. 

Regarding the vote, it is an amendment added to a proposed bill which must go before the full House and Senate for approval.  Even if approved in the House and Senate it must then be sent to the president for his signature before passing.  The president signing it, at least in my opinion, is not very likely.  Obama had a lot to do with why the rule exists to begin with.

Even if the amendment to the rule were to go into effect, all it would do is take away the money EPA has to fund enforcement.  It would not eliminate the rule.   If and when a reliable test kit were to be eventually recognized by EPA, and finally made it to the marketplace, enforcement funding would then become available again.

EPA can eventually get you anyway:
RRP DocumentationKeep in mind that the rule requires that renovators keep all required documentation and that it be available for EPA audit for 3 years.   That means EPA can retroactively enforce the rule 3 years back.  If and when enforcement happens, all EPA needs to do is ask to see a renovators documentation to determine whether all the regulated work performed during that 3 year period was properly documented, met the rule’s requirements and that property owners and/or tenants received the required Renovate Right pamphlet, any lead testing results documentation as well as a copy of the required renovation checklist. Remember, the fine is up to $37,500 per violation per day!

Property Owners, Tenants and Parents can get you anytime:
Also, keep in mind that even if EPA can’t or doesn’t enforce the rule, your customers, their neighbors and the parents of children attending a child occupied facility can still sue you for not following the law.  And, as a business, if accused, you are considered guilty until you prove you and your business is innocent at your own expense, money you cannot recoup in court. 

RRP frustrationsPlus, one fact that many business owners may not be aware of is that, under the rule, the business owner can be held civilly liable for violating the rule.    Don’t assume you are personally protected just because of the legal status of your business.


Topics: EPA RRP Rule Updates, Legal Considerations, Shawn's Predictions, Amendments, Lead Test Kits and Testing, Enforcement and Inspections