The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided against expanding its Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule to include dust wipe sampling and clearance testing requirements, the agency announced on July 15. The proposed expansion rule would have been a revision to the original LRRP rule that came into effect in 2008. Dealers, builders, and remodelers have attacked this proposal since it was introduced in May 2010. The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) led an especially vigorous campaign against the revision.

"This development is a major victory for NLBMDA, LBM dealers doing installed sales, and their remodeler customers," said executive vice president Scott Lynch. "It will also save homeowners in pre-1978 homes from having to absorb even more unjustified costs associated with the lead rule."

While the EPA has decided against promulgating dust wipe sampling and clearance testing requirements, the agency said it would revise other areas of the original rule. Some of the revisions include allowing paint chips to be sent to laboratories "certified" by the agency for lead testing instead of having to use a test kit. Also the EPA said it may propose minor changes to the training program accreditation application process and change minimal enforcement provisions for authorized state and tribal renovation programs.

While these changes may quiet some critics of the rule, the NLBMDA indicated that many dealers still feel the rule is too wide and too broad.

"The NLBMDA will continue to pursue efforts to reign in the expansion of the Lead Rule," said Lynch.

The association is currently seeking restoration of an opt-out provision for customers when there are no children or pregnant women around. The association will also fight efforts to force the rule upon the renovation of commercial buildings.

On July 13, the NLBMDA commended legislators in the House of Representatives for voting to approve an amendment that prohibits the EPA from enforcing the LRRP rule until a reliable lead test is approved. The amendment was supported by the NLBMDA and was passed by the House Appropriations Committee as part of the 2012 budget for the EPA.