Get the Lead out, Boys! Hut, Hut!


EPA Lead rules
Live long and prosper!

There is a season Turn,Turn, Turn, Turn

A time to build up, a time to break down

A time to dance, a time to mourn

A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together/

Written by Pete Seeger and adapted from the bible/ Book of Ecclesiastes.

Is it time for our organizations to work for the industry, the whole industry?

Who has the best trade group? Depends on who your talking to.

What will the EPA lead rule bring to our industry? Depends on who your talking to.

On April 22, 2010 we begin to enforce the EPA lead rule.

Some of us will be ready, some of us won’t, but all of us will be affected by it. All of us in the building industry that is. We will all be confused and run through a mixer of conflicting interpretations of the lead rule most likely enforced by bored and confused inspectors with no skin in the game.

We need is an industry push.

How about a clear understanding of how to safely deal with lead in an economical method that doesn’t impact other forward thinking building practices. You don’t need to be a scientist to figure out that lead control might be better addressed after having tested a few different methods of removal. Right now the answer is plastic, duct tape and swifter mops.

Who thought this up, Martha Stewart and Larry the Cable guy? The rule is a mess, it can’t stand on its own merit. No one is for lead poisoning and no one is ready for homeowners to say “I’m not paying for that”. Will you be able to sell a house with lead paint after a few sensational articles about sloppy lead removal are published?

Its time for all the groups, NARI, NAHB, AIA, ASID, NKBA, NAR and others to open communications for an industry effort to save ourselves from this upcoming mess. This is time for all building professionals to unite on this issue. We are all affected by this rule and no one organization has the muscle to make change, we need industry partnering on this. Change can be for the better, but the lead rule as it stands is not that kind of change.

Will the organizations do something?

Doing nothing is what we did before the rule got passed and here we are, now we can petition our leaders to extend an offer to other organizations to work for a common goal, not to repeal safe lead practices but to install safe lead practices that won’t result in an economic burden on homeowners and create a stronger underground service industry than the one we have already.

Or do nothing.

We’ll bring this up again in the spring, I can’t change this, but everyone working together can. Make your industry leaders accountable for all organizations working together to affect a rule for lead that makes sense.If the groups can put aside personal gain on this, maybe they can agree on something else, like green building.

In conclusion.

Some of us think this is an opportunity, some of us don’t. Some of us think this could fizzle out and be nothing and some think its the beginning of a real train wreck. Who knows, but wouldn’t you like to be sure? Lets work together as an industry for once.


By Paul Lesieur


  1. Hello Paul,

    This post is a great call for industry leaders to come together and collectively seek out solutions that benefit all concerned.
    Alone, we have little strength, together will make an impact.

    I think one thing we need to come to grips with is the law is going to be enacted as is, for now. There will be challenges, heated debates, lack enforcement, misunderstandings, resistance from contractors and mixed consumer reactions.

    The first think that must be remembered in all this is the intent to protect all from lead poisoning.
    Second, contractors need to make sure they abide by the rules even if it makes no sense to them. If you want to change them get involved politically.
    Third, we have to use every conceivable way to inform consumers without depending on the epa to do it.
    Fourth we must insist that all local building officials participate in the enforcement of the law.
    Fifth we need to have the courage to to warn contractors who don’t follow the rule that they are exposing the consumer to illegal work that may result in serious consequences for the homeowner.
    Sixth we must be willing to report on the contractors who do illegal work and hurt the reputation of our industry. Including the local fireman and teachers who moonlight running illegal contracting businesses.
    This sixth reason brings out the heebie jeebies in a lot of people. However, the majority of complaints from consumers come from jobs done by unprofessional or illegal contractors. It is time to turn the tide, hard or not, and begin an industry wide revamping not just a few here and a few there. Maybe some one can come up with an acceptable way to warn illegal contractors that they will be reported if they don’t choose the professional route. The sad fact is this, the underground service industry is taking millions of dollars away from the legal companies while creating the majority of the complaints and industry problems. This is wrong and unfair to those who play by the rules and pay the freight.
    Good job Paul.

    mark the coach


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here