Volume 45, Issue 5 - May 2010


EPA Seeks Input on Potential Lead Regulations for Commercial Buildings

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed rulemaking on “Lead: Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program for Public and Commercial Buildings” in April.

In the notice, the agency requests input on the potential for regulating the renovation, repair and painting of public and commercial buildings under section 402(c)(3) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The agency aims to determine whether lead-based paint hazards are created by interior renovation, repair and painting projects in public and commercial buildings. For those renovations in the interiors of public and commercial buildings that create lead-based paint hazards, EPA will propose regulations to address these hazards.

The goal of the new rule would be to ensure that persons working in areas that may be lead-based paint hazards are properly trained, that training programs are accredited and that contractors performing these activities are certified. The announcement cites glass and glazing contractors as among the parties likely to be impacted by the final rule.

New lead-based paint regulations for the residential industry were released as well, and currently are scheduled to take effect July 6—although legislation has been introduced to further delay the rule. For several months residential window manufacturers have spoken out vehemently about updates to the rule that requires contractors disturbing paint—such as by replacing windows—in homes built prior to 1978 to be certified. The primary concern is that renovation firms are no longer able to be exempted from the training and work practice requirements of the rule by obtaining certification from the owner of a residence that no child under age six or pregnant woman resides in the home and the home is not a child-occupied facility. Members of the industry have objected to the significant costs this expected to add to window replacement. In addition, the industry has expressed concern that only a fraction of installers have been made aware of the rule and obtained certification.

For the proposed rule for commercial buildings, EPA is requesting comment on, among other issues, information and data on the types of buildings that should be considered “public buildings” or “commercial buildings,” as it is not defined conclusively in this rule. Earlier regulations had limited activity to “child-occupied” facilities but the current notice states:EPA?is looking toward a broader interpretation.

The agency also is aiming to determine whether to continue to rely on two earlier agency studies, both of which evaluated the amount of leaded dust generated by activities including window replacement. EPA also requests comment on the extent to which these two studies should inform its determination, “especially considering that some of the renovations in the Dust Study were performed in a school building.”

In addition, EPA asks for information on the prevalence of leaded paint. “Does the prevalence or lead level differ by building age, component or type (e.g., interior or exterior; doors and windows, trim or walls; wood substrate or metal substrate)?”

Comments can be submitted by visiting EPA’s electronic docket and comment system at www.regulations.gov. The deadline for comments is July 6.

PPG Issues Update to Sustainability Report
Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries issued in April 2010 a 2009 update to its corporate sustainability report. The update is a supplement to the full 2008 report, the company’s first, which gives an overview of PPG’s status and progress throughout the past year on economic, environmental, safety and social-involvement initiatives.

“The difficult economic conditions of 2009 did not detract from or deter our efforts toward driving the concepts of sustainability throughout everything we do at PPG,” says Charles E. Bunch, chairperson and chief executive officer.

The 12-page update is posted online along with the 2008 corporate sustainability report, and it is self-declared to meet Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3 Application Level C requirements. The update reflects new information for 2009 regarding the company’s business performance, environmental metrics, safety statistics and information on philanthropic activities. It is designed to be read in conjunction with the original report.

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