|Action||Initial promulgation of Lead-based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Regulation|
|Comment Period||Ended on 7/23/2021|
As the Board reviews the requirements for promulgation of the RRP Regulations, I request consideration of the following:
That the regulation is founded in the knowledge that the release of lead-containing paint into the environment is potentially hazardous to the occupants of the home, workers, and the public.
That (quoting from the Agency’s Background Document) “the goal of the proposed regulation is to ensure that individuals and businesses conducting lead-based paint renovation, repairs and painting activities are properly licensed so as the enhance the Department’s ability to protect the health, safety and welfare of Virginia citizens from the hazard of lead-based paint poisoning.”
That the regulation itself will not protect occupants, workers and the public from these hazards. Compliance with the regulations – assured by monitoring activities and enforcement of the regulations, will.
That the EPA, since the RRP regulation’s inception effective 2010, has substantially failed to assure significant compliance with the law, for lack of a clear means and resources to do so. It is likely that Virginia will find itself in the same position once responsibility for administration and enforcement passes to responsibility of the Commonwealth.
There is substantial disregard for this law. One of the Nation’s largest home improvement outlets, Home Depot, was found to have violated the regulation in “hundreds of instances” in 2020. Popular Home Television stars Chip & Joanna Gaines were found in serious violation of the regulations as they broadcast their unsafe practices to millions on their show, “Fixer Upper”.
Homeowners desiring renovations to their pre-1978 homes are uninformed of the law, and therefore unwittingly endangered by illegal and unsafe practices performed by untrained / uncertified contractors.
The mandate for promulgation requires that Virginia shall include the requirements of the Federal law, but is allowed to have requirements more restrictive than that law.
I propose that Virginia can lead the way in assuring the effectiveness of this law, and thereby the safety of its citizens, as the RRP regulation promulgates to our administration and enforcement.
One logical path is to increase in-progress enforcement. However, locating / identifying instances of violation has previously been accomplished solely by reliance on “whistle-blowers”. That is problematic in many ways, and still requires multiple enforcement officers to follow-up on tips. Any reasonably effective means for in-progress enforcement will surely require legions of new enforcement officers throughout the state, for which there would be substantial expense to the Commonwealth.
I propose instead, a more cost-effective and generally-effective means of assuring substantially-increased compliance.
The Commonwealth may order that municipalities issuing building permits for renovations and repairs add the following requirements to their permit applications:
These simple additional requirements, which would require a minimum of effort and expense on the part of Virginia municipalities’ planning departments, could be easily established and administered with a minimum of expense. The Commonwealth of Virginia could then be exemplary in its leadership toward the health, safety and well-being of its citizens.
I look forward to discussing the means to doing so, at your public hearing on July 14th.