April 22, 2010 Earth Day
and the EPA Lead Rule gets legs.
By The Paul
Lets forget statistics for now, any college student can tell you statistics are for lying, for not being truthful. Statistics are an exercise in spin. 50% of all glasses are half empty and 50% are half full. 90% of the people reading this will think about it, 25% will be upset, 30% will agree in part and 40% will agree 100% with what is written.
Of the 10% who don’t think, 42% will be watching a reality TV show, 38% will go hang out with friends, 8% will pray and 8% will surf for porn. The rest will think about mowing the lawn, watching American Idol or going grocery shopping.
Statistically lead levels have been dropping in tested children, but lets get to the real story. Lead paint was no longer allowed in residential construction in the United States after 1977, it had already been outlawed in most of the civilized world long before that, France, Belgium, Germany, Spain and many other countries outlawed lead paint at the beginning of the century. Big businesses successful lobbying efforts meant Americans still got lead paint.
Herein lies the rub, lead is here, its hurt children and adults and the people who caused it don’t want any part of fixing things. This creates a problem, so the solution is to get remodeling contractors to take an 8 hour class, put everything in plastic on the job site and use a fancy vacuum so it could all be wiped up with Swifter wipes ……………………………………………………………..???
Hint: Buy stock in any company dealing in plastic sheathing, Hepa vacuum filters and Swifter products.
Lead is bad for you, its especially bad for children and pregnant woman. When you get lead poisoning, treatment takes time and the cost could be measured in a lifetime of medical and behavioral problems. Statistics show 25,000,000 American homes contain lead products. In homes lead paint is causing the major problems. Paint dust and chips get ingested by children getting dust on their skin and putting their fingers in their mouths, other ways are to breath the dust from construction and eating paint chips. Ingesting is the worst. Lead tastes sweet, kids like sweet things.
The EPA says we’ve got a plan.
The plan so far has been to set the start date and then sit back and see what happens. So far we have little public awareness, a shortage of trainers, a small percentage of compliant companies and no plans for enforcement. Soon many of the states will be taking over the enforcement, but they don’t have enforcers either. No problem, we get the 10 or 20 thousand compliant contractors to snitch on the non compliant contractors. The good guys vs the bad guys, lets call the bad guys Baby Killers. Catch the Baby Killers, lets make an example of them, lets lock em up and throw away the key because they are the bad guys.
What might happen?
Some of the problems we face, like proper insurance coverage, misinterpretation of the rule, homeowners doing the demolition themselves, unlicensed contractors offering cost savings , property values being affected and a proliferation of lawsuits by unscrupulous homeowners and their attorneys will be on us like stink on a skunk.
Realtors with their Lead Disclosure get out of jail free card will be scrambling to put distance between themselves and a potential lawsuit on certain type properties with certain types of sellers. People will lie about lead in their homes and soon we may face higher premiums and reduced property values in target housing. Is this a fact? No not yet, but changes are coming and the fines are severe for non compliance over the lead rule. The scariest things are lack of registered renovators and confusion over proper compliance.
But wait, salvation is here.
Businesses are starting to educate homeowners and each other to proper procedures including safe practices, disposal and record keeping. Your new best friend will be your office filing system and digital camera. I plan on moving into my office to protect both.
What to do.
Right now the best thing to do is get certified to Renovate Right, talk to your insurance agent and your lawyer. Educate your employees and customers and keep educating yourself. When the **** hits the fan on this one it will likely result into 2 interested groups looking for satisfaction. The group that goes along with things as written, and the group that will unite to change the ruling.
Earth Day antics.
On Earth Day the vast majority of people won’t be ready, they won’t comply and they will be nervous and angry such a poorly planned event was allowed to happen. The Good Guys will see an opportunity for profits and a chance to morally place themselves above other businesses, the Baby Killers will start a movement to amend the rule and even if they come up with a common sense approach will likely be accused of placing profits before people…..! Both groups are talking about money, one says they will make more and the other says they will make less. Who ya gonna call?
I ask myself, are the Good Guys really that good?
Are the Baby Killers promoting doing harm?
Both groups are considering cost and profit in this situation. And I know one fact, both the Good Guys and the Baby Killers to the largest degree would celebrate this rule being rewritten, after all, a common sense approach followed by the majority would produce a safer remodeling market than an onerous rule strictly followed by a minority.
My questions are,
Who created this problem, who decided the solution, who tested the approach, who researched the costs, who will enforce, why is it taking so long to create awareness, where are our government leaders on this?