The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that it has no plans to sponsor studies of new, more accurate kits designed to test for the presence of lead paint in homes before remodeling projects can begin.
After a group of remodelers and builders met with EPA leaders during the NAHB Spring Board of Directors meeting, the agency sent a letter to NAHB stating that it has “no plans or resources” to look for more accurate testing methods, even though test kits currently recognized by the EPA have false positive rates ranging from 22.5% to 84%.
Absent a reliable test kit, remodelers or their clients must pay for more expensive testing methods or presume the presence of lead and use lead-safe work practices during the remodeling job if the home was built before 1978. Lead-safe certified remodelers told EPA that the lack of an inexpensive kit is forcing them to lose work to uncertified and fly-by-night operators who won’t tack on the additional charges.
NAHB continues its efforts on Capitol Hill to press EPA to restore the opt-out provision, especially in the absence of a reliable test kit.
Lead paint resources for remodelers and consumers are available at nahb.org/leadpaint.