LETTER: Don’t Delay Lead Requirements

By Beacon Staff

Your recent story by Dan Testa (April 21 Beacon: “With New EPA Lead Requirement, Contractors Scramble to Get Certified”) mentioned the dangers of lead paint and the delay tactics being proposed by Rep. Denny Rehberg regarding the EPA rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices. Under the rule that was to begin last month, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. In order to keep our schools, homes and offices safe for our children, contractors would need to follow these three simple procedures: Contain the work area, minimize dust and clean up thoroughly. We applaud the EPA for establishing this common sense rule.

Yet, in March, Rep. Rehberg asked the White House to delay the new EPA rule out of concern contractors could lose work. He has also introduced legislation that would delay the implementation of the lead paint rule and tack on a series of bureaucratic expectations to EPA. Rehberg’s bill is premised on the idea that there have not been enough classes held in Montana. But in the last two years there have been 35 lead-safe contractor classes held all over the state and contractors have been given ample notice and support to participate.

This rule is only in place to safeguard our children from needless lead exposure. Lead exposure causes a multitude of serious health problems, including brain damage. We feel confident that sufficient time and education has been offered to Montana’s contractors and thus the EPA ruling needs to go into effect without any further delay tactics.
Melisa Kaiser Synness
Executive Director
Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies – Montana

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