Home Repair Rule Goes Over Like Lead Balloon


There's no question that health care reform (yes, a euphemism) is the topic of the day. But just so you don't forget that the government can juggle all sorts of monumental screwups at the same time, here's a nice story brought to you courtesy of the EPA:

On April 22, the Environmental Protection Agency is slated to enact rules requiring EPA certification for contractors working 0n homes built before lead paint was banned in 1978. The rule, aimed at limiting exposure to lead, applies to carpenters, plumbers, heating and air conditioning workers, window installers and others.

Two-thirds of U.S. homes and apartments (78 million out of 120 million) were built before 1978, says Calli Schmidt of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), citing Census Bureau data. She says half of the pre-1978 homes don't contain lead but the rule, depending on implementation, might apply to all of them.

USA Today notes one obvious problem with this rule: "The EPA has certified only 14,000 workers in lead-safe practices despite its own estimate that more than 200,000 will need to be trained, according to the NAHB [National Association of Home Builders]."

There are others, of course, starting with the idea of making work more difficult and expensive (great idea during a recession) and the fact that lead exposure rates among children, the most vulnerable group at risk for exposure, have been dropping like a lead balloon independent of this sort of thing. But as fans of Star Wars could tell you, a phantom menace is sometimes better than the real thing.