Lead Paint Opt-Out Bill May Soften Tough New Lead Law

By Todd Fratzel on Painting and Finishing, Safety

Lead Paint Opt-Out Bill Introduced In The Senate

Back in April of 2010 the EPA started enforcing the new Lead Paint Law. Since then home owners and contractors have been in an uproar about insanely steep fines and harsh restrictions. One of the biggest complaints from homeowners that we have received is the in-ability to “Opt-Out” of the new law. The new lead paint law frustrations are so high that the construction company I currently work for won’t take remodeling jobs on pre-1978 homes because they are just too risky.

Well some relief may be in sight thanks to Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe  who this week introduced a bill that would reinstate the “opt-out” provision. This would offer home owners and contractors significantly more flexibility when financial constraints won’t allow for the normal Lead Paint Law provisions.

The bill, S. 2148, would allow home owners to “opt-out” of the new rules if:

  • No child under 6 lives in the building and/or
  • No pregnant woman lives in the building

The co-sponsors of the bill are Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), David Vitter (R-La.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). The bill is in the Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Welcome News

This is very welcome news to me. I’ve been watching this case closely. I feel the law was crafted by folks who know nothing about construction and by folks that have little respect for the impact this law has created.

This is also welcome news to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) that’s been working extremely hard to lesson the impact on remedelors. In a statement this week the NAHB said:

“We applaud Sen. Inhofe and his colleagues for sponsoring this bill to make much-needed improvements to EPA’s lead paint rule during this busy time in Congress,” said 2012 NAHB Remodelers Chairman George “Geep” Moore Jr., GMB, CAPS, GMR, a remodeler from Elm Grove, La. “If this effort is successful, it will reduce the regulatory burden for remodelers facing costly penalties for first-time violations like misfiled paperwork and allow home owners to make the final decision about renovations in their homes.”

You won’t hear me argue the fact of protecting our children from the dangers of lead paint. However, the very small risk of lead paint exposure for this type of construction doesn’t warrant the huge impacts that homeowners have been feeling. Many homeowners are now unable to afford energy efficient replacement windows, new entry doors, painting their home or even having new siding installed.

If you own a home that was built prior to 1978 I would be lining up to support this legislation!

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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