Volume 11, Issue 2 - March 2010


Laying out the Facts
by Tara Taffera

Many in the industry are scrambling to take the necessary precautions to be ready for the new lead paint regulations when they go into effect on April 22, 2010. (To learn more about the regulations, visit www.dwmmag.com and type “lead paint” in the search site archives box ).

But many are also talking about how, if at all, these new regulations apply to door and window hardware. Some of this controversy was spurred by a recent article in DWM magazine so we decided a follow-up article was needed to look into the subject further and clarify a few points. We went to additional experts to again look at the issue of acceptable levels of lead in door and hardware products.

At the heart of the issue is the question, “Does the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Lead-based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Program (RRP) encompass window hardware?”

The EPA’s Mike Wilson told DWM magazine it does not.

“The RRP would not prohibit hardware with lead in it from being put in,” says Wilson. “This is beyond the scope of the regulation.”

He added, “That would [fall] under the [Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)].”

Reviewing CPSC Rules
So let’s look at what language published by the CPSC says in reference to doors and windows and their related hardware.

Stephen Murphy of Reed Smith LLP, an attorney who specializes in Consumer Product Safety Commission issues, points out that the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) imposed for the first time a limit on lead content in children’s products.

“The CPSIA does not impose lead content limits on any other products, including doors and windows,” says Murphy. “The CPSIA does, however, reduce the lead in paint limit for ‘toys and other articles intended for use by children’ and for ‘furniture articles for consumer use’ from 600 [parts per million (ppm)] to 90 ppm. This lead paint limit has been in effect for some time.
It does not apply to doors or

Many industries are looking at the lead issue and are wondering how the change affects their products, even if the products aren’t intended for use by children. For example, one furniture maker had contacted the CPSC to ask how it would affect his business, and, in the answer, CPSC points out that its guidelines do not apply to doors and windows.

“16 C.F.R. § 1303.1 provides that the lead paint limits apply to toys and other articles intended for use by children, as well as furniture articles for consumer use that bear lead-containing paint,” writes CPSC. “Furniture articles include, but are not limited to beds, bookcases, chairs, chests, tables, dressers, desks, pianos, console televisions and sofas. However, they do not include appliances such as ranges, refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers, air conditioners, humidifiers and dehumidifiers; fixtures such as bathroom fixtures, built-in cabinets, chandeliers, windows and doors; or household items such as window shades, venetian blinds or wall hangings and draperies.”

D.S. Berenson with Johanson Berenson LLP also points out that the CPSC lead paint ban (16 CFR 1303) does not apply to windows or doors, and that is interpreted to include handles and hardware for doors and windows. 

Murphy goes further, saying that doors and windows are not “children’s products.”

“Because the definition of children’s products is limited to consumer products designed and intended ‘primarily’ for children 12 years of age or younger, it is clear that door and window hardware would not constitute a ‘children’s product.’ Doors and window hardware is plainly intended primarily for adults,” he says.

Regardless of whether hardware is intended for use by children or not, Daniel Twarog, president of the North American Die Casting Association (NADCA) says that “all certified North American produced zinc alloys fall well below 0.005 percent or 50 ppm in lead content.”

“This is much lower than the concentrations dictated by any environmental act of regulation,” he adds.

AAMA Task Group Studies This Issue

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s (AAMA) hardware surface test task group was formed in 2008 to look at the lead content in hardware products. The group met during the association’s 2009 Fall Conference and reviewed the current wording within the current draft of the 101/I.S.2/A440-2011 regarding lead content. New wording was discussed; a motion to accept the new wording and forward on to the joint document management group passed unanimously.

The new wording is as follows: “At the point of manufacture, hardware intended for repetitive human touch by the consumer shall contain only insubstantial lead on the outermost surface part. If the part is coated, the coatings (e.g. paint, plating, oil and clear coat) shall be considered the outermost surface of the part. The presence of lead shall be determined by testing in accordance with ASTM E1753 (Rhodizonate Surface Swab Test).” (Note: Several Rhodizonate swab kits are commercially available. Users should use kits with a sensitivity appropriate for the requirements of Clause 11.1.1.)

The task group met again during the association’s annual meeting held in February 2009, and this time addressed some of the confusion regarding the new EPA requirements, according to Chuck Anderson, AAMA codes and industry affairs manager.

“There is confusion within the marketplace regarding lead maximums, and all manufacturers and suppliers should be informed about what is truly required,” says Anderson. The group recommended that lead requirements be included in the next revision of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440, NAFS to be published in 2011.

This language is still under development and in draft form but, at press time, the proposed language provided clarification on the procedures and cites ASTM, NIOSH, and EPA protocols. 

“It is imperative that manufacturers confirm the percentage of lead in the hardware provided by their suppliers,” says Anderson.

He also points out that AAMA has already addressed this concern for the overall fenestration product by requiring limitations of less than 0.02 percent, or 200 parts per million, as part of AAMA’s profile certification program.


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