By Pat Rizzuto
The EPA opted for stricter limits for lead dust on floors and windowsills but declined to adjust its definition of lead-based paint, saying it lacks enough information.
The standards would apply to most pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities, such as day-care centers and kindergarten facilities, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Lead is a neurotoxin that negatively affects learning, cognition, behavior, and growth at sufficient doses of exposure.
Children’s health advocates have long pressed for stricter lead standards, citing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that suggests any amount of lead exposure is harmful. Construction industry representatives have pointed out the costs of remediating old housing and urged EPA to use sound science in its approach to lead.
The EPA is proposing to lower its acceptable lead-in-dust standards to 10 micrograms per square foot on floors, down from the current standard of 40, and 100 micrograms on windowsills, down from 250.
“It is an important step forward for children’s health that EPA has proposed a standard which will lower the amounts of lead in dust and windowsills, which they did in response to a lawsuit by Earthjustice,” Tracey Woodruff, director of the University of California’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, told Bloomberg Environment.
Nancy Beck, deputy assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention at EPA, said June 25 a proposed new definition of how much lead needs to be in paint to be called “lead-based paint” and new cleanup standards for lead-paint dust will soon be published in the Federal Register. The proposal will be open for public comment for 45 days.
The EPA released the proposed rule late June 22 after it was sued for unreasonable delays in updating those standards, Beck said during a webinar on the Toxic Substances Control Act. The standards the administration is proposing will be more protective and will reflect the best available science on the human health effects from lead exposures, she said.
But Woodruff, a scientist and former EPA official, takes issue with that view of the science. “There is no safe level of lead exposure to children, so while progress has been made, there is still more to do.”
“Hopefully we can learn from the tragic lesson of allowing lead to be put into paint in the first place, that we need to make sure that chemicals and metals do not pose a risk to children’s health before they are widely used and children exposed,” she added.
The agency said information was inadequate to propose a revision to the federal definition of lead-based paint. The government defines lead-based paint as any “paint, surface coating that contains lead equal to or exceeding 1 milligram per square centimeter or 0.5 percent by weight.”
The definition is woven through other EPA requirements and can be used, for example, to help inspectors target properties where lead-based paint may be a concern, the agency said.
The proposed rule will impact remodeling, painting, and construction firms that work in older buildings.
The EPA issued its new, proposed dust standards following a Dec. 27, 2017, ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The court said the agency had taken too long to act on a 2009 administrative petition from environmental and health groups that wanted the EPA to further restrict lead paint limitations.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)