With all the talk of the Lead Renovate Repair Paint Law (LRRP), I am noticing how this is affecting everyday homeowners. Just to do a quick summary of the LRRP law, it affects homes that were built before 1978. If you are doing any renovation, the remodeling company is required to test your home for lead. If your home tests positive for lead, the contractor is required to use lead-safe practices. It doesn’t matter if you are having windows replaced, having your kitchen redone, etc., the LRRP encompasses 99% of remodeling work.
There was an “opt-out” clause available, where if you didn’t have children under six or pregnant women residing the house, you could opt out of having your contractor use lead-safe practices. The major focus and thrust of the LRRP law is to protect children from lead poisoning. I think this is a worthy endeavor we can all get behind.
If your pre-1978 built house tests positive for lead, and the criteria above don’t exist, homeowners still are required to have their contractors use lead-safe practices. If you are doing replacement windows, the industry has shown that the additional cost for using lead-safe practices is a whopping $120/window (this is on the low end of the scale).
Let’s focus on the point of protecting children. I’m raising two little girls myself, and I certainly don’t want them to be exposed to lead—so I definitely understand the importance of using lead-safe practices. Now removing the opt-out clause is another matter and a discussion for a different time. I want to focus on something that concerns me even more, however.
I ran across an article, http://tinyurl.com/2u2al23about drinking water from household plumbing. I found it both shocking and alarming. In 1986, the federal government enacted a law that reduced the amount of lead in our drinking water plumbing. However, faucets labeled as 'lead free' today still contain up to a quarter pound of lead.
It has been explained to many companies in the construction industry that the amount of lead that can poison a small child is less than the amount of sugar found in a small packet. Yet, a faucet we can purchase today can be labeled lead-free and still contain a whopping quarter pound of lead.
This same article also cited other known alarming facts. For example, lead will leach into our drinking water more so with lead found in pipes as well as the lead found in faucets. The article proceeds to say that children under six will absorb and retain 50% of the lead they ingest. The EPA also concludes that 15-20% of children's exposure to lead comes from drinking water.
I want children to be safe from lead poisoning. I can get behind the LRRP law when it comes to protecting children but not taking away the rights of homeowners who don’t have children. I believe the opt-out rule should be put back in the LRRP law. But what concerns me even more is drinking water—my children drink water everyday. I would rather have the EPA focus on lead in our water rather than on pre-built 1978 homes that don’t have children residing in them.