The House Appropriations Committee last Wednesday passed an ammendment to halt funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lead paint rule until the agency can make the mandated lead test kit commercially available. The amendment was approved by a party-line vote of 27-20; the same amendment was adopted by the committee last year but was not enacted. The current legislation heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

In its statement of support for the budget committee's vote, the National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) reported that because the specified lead test kit is not yet on the market (it would need to produce no more than 10% false positives and 5% false negatives), more homes must comply with LRRP protocol because the current test kits are unreliable—an “unjustified commonplace burden placed on dealers and their customers,” said Cally Fromme, association chair and executive vice president of Victoria, Texas-based Zarsky Lumber Co., in a statement.

This comes less than a week after the D.C. district court denied a petition filed by the NLBMDA and other trade groups to review an amendment to the EPA’s lead rule that would eliminate a provision allowing remodelers and contractors to forgo lead-safe renovation practices if given homeowner consent for spaces in which no pregnant women or children live.

The Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule went into effect in April 2010 and requires contractors whose work disrupts lead-based paint in homes, child-care facilitates, and schools built before 1978 to follow lead-safe prescriptive guidelines.