Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New EPA Regulation Invades Our Own Homes, Costing 10-15% or More

New EPA Regulation Invades Our Own Homes
Costing Home Owners 10 – 15% Or More On Their Home Repairs & Renovations


Just think how much more money victims of Hurricane Irene will have to dish out based on this new EPA Ruling - not to mention the increase in insurance premiums when all the added costs are factored in. Who knows when your area will be the next victim of a natural disaster that will require expensive repairs at this 15% increase in costs?

Once again the government, through all its oppressive regulations, will be costing taxpayers money they can't afford and invading our own homes and controlling what we can do with our own personal and real estate property. We don't really own anything if the federal government can control what we do with it. It is one thing to regulate businesses or entities that affect numbers of people or children (as bad as those EPA regulations are), but it is quite another thing to control what we do with our homes where we are not affecting anyone but ourselves. That's like telling people they can't have unhealthy food in their home, smoke in their own house even if they are the only person living there, or even control their own thermostat.

To explain, a friend of mine went to Lowe's to buy a $159 wood front door. From his understanding they were going to charge him $16.00 for an EPA inspection of some kind. Then there was another fee of 35.00 for something connected to EPA for a total of $51.00. By the time he bought the $159 door and had it installed, it was going to cost him about $300.00. He didn't buy the door but brought me the Lowe's "Detail Expectation Sheet" with the figures on it. Lowe's lost a sale and a customer was denied a service he needed because of an unnecessary EPA regulation.

I called the sales person listed on the paper work from Lowe's to get the details. The sales person told me that beginning this year a new EPA regulation required that any repair or renovation on a home built before 1978 required testing for lead before the work could be done (including replacing doors, windows, carpet, stoves, almost anything that would be an installation for a home, and even painting if any sanding or disturbance of the paint were involved). This sales Person told me the regulation started this year (2011) but it was really implemented April 23, 2010 according to the Press Release below. (Later I found a waiver for enforcement of this regulation until October 1, 2010) A whopping 80 percent of existing homes were built before 1980. http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/20061213_olderhomes.htm)

Workers will have to be certified as lead-safe by the EPA and wear special gear outfitted with air filters, goggles and hoods. Work sites will have to be protected with heavy plastic and cleaned thoroughly with special vacuums, with warning signs posted," is the way an AP story described the procedure. However, lead in paint had been reduced drastically or eliminated years before 1978. One article I read said, " The recommended amount of lead in domestic paint had declined from 50% before 1965, to 1% in 1965. http://www.environment.gov.au/atmosphere/airquality/publications/housepaint.html
This regulation is designed more for control than for safety and is laying the groundwork for future controls in our own home. In 2008, "[P]owered by a wave of public outrage that transcended party lines, California citizens forced regulators at the California Energy Commission to abandon plans to control thermostat settings in private homes. Under the proposal, every new home and every renovated heating and air conditioning system would be required by law to include an FM receiver that would allow the Energy Commission to reset the thermostat to whatever temperature the agency desired during times of peak usage. So even if your home was built after 1978, there will be other forthcoming EPA rules in the future if we don't stop them now.

The Lowe's sales person said if there was lead in the area when they tested it, they had to build something "like a cocoon" (I later learned this is called containment) around it to keep the dust from escaping the area. The $16.00 fee at Lowe's was to cover the cost of that test for lead. Then there was another fee of $35.00 that had to be paid up front but would be given back if no lead was found in the area. When I asked the sales person how much that "cocoon thing" he talked about would cost he said he had no idea.

However, "The home builders group estimates that the new rule could cost between $500 and $1,500 for large projects costing more than $5,000." The EPA countered, "that additional expenses may be as low at $8 to $167. The $16.00 fee at Lowe's on a $159.00 door would be like an added 10% sales tax – and that is no estimate but real facts and lines up with the estimates by the home builders group. No surprise that the EPA would give such a low estimate since they described the procedure as "simple and effective lead-safe work practices." And this $16.00 fee does not include the other $35.00 required by Lowe's up front before they can even begin the test. http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2010/04/new_federal_rule_on_lead_paint.html
The sales person referred me to Lowe's Install Sales Department for more information about the EPA regulation. This Lowe's employee agreed with the information given me by the other sales person. He also said that Lowe's had agreed to Regulations that went beyond what was required by EPA (more about that later]. I asked if all the major stores were charging to have the area tested for lead before replacing a door, or other installations in homes built before 1978. He said yes, and that you might find an independent contractor that would do it without testing, but that contractor would be liable if he did not follow the EPA rules. He gave me the number to call the EPA hot line 1-800-424-LEAD or 1-800-424-5323.

This EPA worker (Kelly) said the regulation requires any contractor who renovates any part of the house built before 1978 that includes six square feet of the interior or 20 or more square feet of the exterior to either test for lead or treat the area as though there is lead there. The regulation also includes painting if any sanding or disturbance is done. This means they have to contain the area to make sure dust particles don't escape the area unless they first test for lead and find there is no lead there.

The EPA worker said Lowe's has gone beyond the required regulations. I asked her what that meant. She said Lowe's tests on EVERY job whether it covers 6 square feet or not in the interior and 20 square feet on the exterior or not. The $16.00 is not an EPA fee charged by EPA, she said. Evidently the $16.00 fee is Lowe's way of covering their cost for the test for lead. I asked her if Home Depot also went beyond required regulations, and she said yes they also were going beyond the regulations just as Lowe's does. She referred me to website http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm for an article for more information on the EPA ruling.

As a practical business response, Lowe's and other companies probably have to test every area because that is cheaper than taking the added steps to contain the area they are working in as required by the EPA regulation if they don't test. This is another of those EPA regulations that hurt businesses (they will lose sales over this regulation) and cost the consumers - even during this economic crisis in our country. And who thought the EPA could ever come directly into our homes – property we own - and require such unnecessary regulations!

Following is a link to the Press Release on this Regulation. Note how EPA says in the press release: "This rule requires contractors to follow some simple and effective lead safe work practices to prevent children's exposure to dangerous levels of lead. Go to this link to see what is really required for this simple work practice. It takes 32 pages to explain all that is involved. http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/sbcomplianceguide.pdf

In essence this EPA rule involves added money for buyers (in some cases probably more than double), certification fees for contractors, installers and painters, change in policy of installation for retail businesses, record keeping by the contractors for 3 years after the project, clean up details, and disposal of waste, and on and on.

EPA Press Release on this regulation can be found at this link:
http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/5F853ACA6E9395478525770E00568B58

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think of the thousands of us who have lived in, painted, repaired and renovated houes built before 1978 without any negative repercussions whatsoever to us or to our children. This regulation is definitely for control and not for our children's health as EPA indicates.

8:17 PM, August 31, 2011  
Anonymous FedupwiththeFeds said...

I recently called a glass shop to repair a single pane of glass in a pre-1980 multi-pane door (regular glass) - and they came out and did it, then told me that would only be temporary b/c they would have to order "tempered safety glass" because it was in a door and come back another time to replace the one they had already put in. I told them I didn't care - just leave the original one in there, and they insisted it was mandated by law - on doors, they had to install the safety glass. The bill? Ninety dollars! Yep, for replacing a single pane of glass, thanks to insane govt regulations. Next time I'll buy the glass, replace it myself and not tell anyone else!

5:40 PM, September 03, 2011  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

What would we do if we were not taxed so the government can hire our cousin to tell us how to live?

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