After years with regulations, we are bringing the focus of lead paint testing back on the map, for both contractors and the general public!
By popular demand, we are bringing back our EPA Audit Tracker initiative. The EPA Audit Tracker was previously the initiative to collect stories from contractors. It includes stories from people complying with the RRP regulation by having correct record keeping as a contractor.
Suppose EPA audits have started in your area, or you know someone audited for compliance with the RRP regulation. In that case, we kindly ask you that they submit their stories here to better track everything.
Tell your story and help other contractors stay informed about what is happening in your neighborhood by filling out the form below. Then see your story and see what others are saying on our interactive map.
We have not received any stories after launching but will be publishing them as they come in. Strive to be as detailed as possible in your descriptions and questions. Various information being requested is better detailed to learn from the experiences shared in the community.
Make sure to bookmark this page to find it in the future easily, or whatever is the normal thing to do in 2020.
What is the purpose with this tool?
Although this tool could be perceived as a way to “game the EPA,” the intention is not to circumvent anything. The intention is to protect one of the assets you may likely have spent a very long time building. If you have been in the business of working on houses that were built before 1978, we are just here to help you avoid fines.
Our motive is to help increase the safety of American families. It’s still with the intention that the contractors are benefiting. Suppose you are a new contractor or have just obtained your RRP certification. Read through this to ensure that you can see some of the previous encounters others have had and the outcomes.
You should have received the necessary information from the RRP course you took. We believe there is immense value in aggregating different contractors’ stories. You can get the best impression of the course of action you ought to take be taken. That way, you ensure that the job you are doing today won’t create any problems for you 2 years down the line.
It may not seem important to take the necessary precautions and document things as per the RRP standard. We encourage you to do so. The EPA may start digging around one of those jobs you did a long time ago. Suddenly, you want to see the documentation for something that you even forgot that you did.
The better your method of documenting and saving those documents, the more likely you will locate the necessary documents. Ensure that the visit from the EPA is just a standard one and not one that will result in any annoying consequences for you.
Do you have ulterior motives?
You might be interested in knowing whether we have ulterior motives. There is no denying that our business focuses on selling the different lead test kits that contractors use. That is a strong incentive for us to encourage compliance with the legislation. Still, we like to believe that our intentions are more profound than that and that we aren’t just doing it for the money.
We are doing it also to help address unfair aspects of American society. We are helping address what we believe are many issues that stop social mobility and act as environmental racism. It’s a fancy term that we didn’t know about before we started more thoroughly populating this blog. We want a focus on the damaging effects of exposure to lead and the paint that it used to be put in.
We truly believe that lead paint is something bad. Its effects on aspects of society are proving to be especially damaging to segments of the very vulnerable population. They are often the poorer parts of the communities.
For instance, black people are more likely to be living in public housing. Much public housing was built before all these initiatives, such as the RRP regulation and the ban of lead paint in residential house paint. The exposure happens largely to the poorer segments of our society, which we don’t find fair.
The consequences of this exposure are then a cognitive decline. In more popular terms, brain damage. It leads to lower IQs and more difficulty focusing. These are other consequences that kids will experience when exposed to lead paint.
It would be dishonest to say that we aren’t interested in selling our products on the site. We still believe that the millions of homes that still have lead paint should be made safer.
We believe you shouldn’t be unnecessarily exposed when you are painting over lead paint or removing it, depending on the specifications for the job. While we intend to make it safe for families, we also want to create a level playing field among professionals. That also means we attempt to level the playing field regarding the information provided.
By enforcing the RRP regulations, the EPA is helping level the playing field. While you may not like it, some people choose not to play by the rules that the rest are tempted to avoid playing by the rules.
We all know that homeowners can be cheap and want to do the job as cheap as possible. Still, suppose we can help increase the number of contractors that comply with the RRP regulations.
In that case, we can also help make it easier for you to win jobs when you are one of the contractors that already comply. A contractor that isn’t taking the necessary precautions may underbid you on a job because they choose not to do some of the things.
For one, they may not be buying the protective clothing or coveralls that protect themselves. While that may be bad for their health, it is ultimately their own decision. However, not properly taping the room and not using quality plastic sheeting when removing the material might save some money. Still, they’re also exposing the family to unnecessary danger.
This may be a danger that they aren’t even aware of since they aren’t aware of the dangers of lead paint. They may likely not know what the proper safety precautions were when it was banned. They probably also won’t know the extent needed to document the work properly. They don’t know that it can cause kidney failure when inhaled lead dust. Perhaps they aren’t even aware of the extent to which lead poisoning is still a thing that affects the American population.
Can you do anything to help?
Yes, definitely. We are looking for stories where either you or someone you know may have been in contact with the EPA. We want to know in intricate detail how it went. What did it include, and what did they ask? What information did you present them with? When you presented them with the information, how did they react? What were the questions they would ask in return? Did they question any of the things you had done, how you had done them?
Ultimately we are looking for real stories, preferably very detailed. The more detail you can provide, the better. Did they audit you, or did they also audit other contractors in your area? Did anyone get fined, or did you avoid a fine somehow?
What was it like dealing with the EPA? We want stories from various sources, thorough ones, and at least 300 words long. It lets our readers absorb the information they contain and do their business better.
Can you help share this page with others, too?
If you are willing to do it, we would be very happy if you chose to share this information with others. It may be that you aren’t interested in providing your own story. Maybe you don’t necessarily know someone who has previously dealt with the EPA.
Still, we would love to have this page mentioned on your website so that your users might be able to see it when they visit. If you wish to have it done, we can also accredit any story we receive and link it back to your website. It may help send some business your way.
What do we believe will happen in the future?
Many different cities were on lockdown for extended periods because of the riots that were going on. A lot of people had their businesses destroyed by angry protestors. Some things have been happening this year that we definitely hope will end up blowing over.
We hope that this year and all the various events happening, we will eventually look back at and laugh at. It’s given just how absurd all the different things have been. We surely don’t hope that another pandemic disrupts the supply chains and makes it extremely hard to get PPE. Most contractors rely on it to do their job safely.
There has been a need for PPE equipment in the hospital communities. Some people were believed to be very exposed. It doesn’t change that it has halted many other things and that we need to address. It was difficult to get 3M products, and masks were very limited in their supplies.
At the same time, the EPA was very questionable in its ability to communicate. It wasn’t until fairly late that they released a statement to the public regarding treating various issues.
They also chose to simultaneously release a suggested change to the lead limits as everything else has been going on. We think they may have chosen the timing very strategically. They knew that everyone would be too busy with everything else to realize what they were doing.
Maybe you believe it is good for the lead limits to be lowered. It doesn’t change that we here at Check4Lead do not believe that the EPA has done a very good job throughout this entire mess.
Throughout this chaotic time, many things have been changing. You may not have heard about them if you aren’t situated where they are relevant. We believe that things will be changing with the EPA when things cool down again. The changes to the lead limits in abatement work constitute a desire to tackle the problem head-on again. They’re trying to have another round of fines go out to companies that aren’t abiding by the RRP regulations.
Lead poisoning is still a problem
There are still many reports you can find on the internet about how lead poisoning is still significant. It’s something that families should be worried about. The current times are crazy. It doesn’t change that there are probably many companies out there that aren’t playing by the rules.
We believe that a significant portion of companies don’t document and test like they are supposed to. The EPA’s proposed change to the various limits constitutes a desire to go after the companies again. When they can’t receive the negative PR from not social distancing and going to meet companies, they’re going at it again.
At the same time, we have also seen additional initiatives being rolled out on a city level. That is another reason we expect things to change when they calm down again. For one, New York has been very active throughout this entire thing. Their major rolled out many initiatives that will aggressively start going after landlords. If they aren’t ensuring that due process is used for restoration work, they’ll get in trouble.
New York naturally has a lot of old buildings and significantly more old buildings than probably most other cities. The rules that were rolled out there could be rolled out to other cities. It could cause major changes in the desire for companies and landlords to abide by the rules.
We also track online when companies get fined for not following the RRP rules, which has been quiet lately. So quiet that we haven’t seen any reports of fines coming out within the last 6 months. It will continue to be the case.
Perhaps the EPA is simply strategizing how they should better implement initiatives that will help increase compliance. They’re preparing themselves for the situation that will inherently follow Covid-19. We believe that many and big fines will follow in the future.
Although New York is a unique city, it’s no more than 12 years since the EPA originally introduced RRP. You have to go back to 1977 to get back to when the paint was banned. The EPA may have revised the RRP from time to time since then. The reality of the matter is that millions of homes out there have heavy metal in them. It is causing elevated lead levels in the blood for many families, including kids. It’s why we don’t believe that this unnatural slowdown will continue.
We may be at a point where it has been sufficiently long since the RRP was introduced. They may need to focus on new campaigns to bring them back to people’s minds. Many of the contractors operating and working now may not even have been working back when the legislation was initially instated.
What’s the situation with Covid?
We already mentioned that we hadn’t been impressed by the EPA’s work in educating contractors. We also don’t think they have done a very good job of making the information easy to read. It includes whether or not they would allow leniency in lapsed certifications or not.
There are sites across the country where the certification renewal process has been halted. It hasn’t been possible to do the in-person training. Still, it hasn’t been all too clear exactly how strict the EPA would be in enforcing any lapses in certification caused by a coronavirus. We made a resource on coronavirus and how we read the information shared by the EPA, and we too were confused.
We read the entire memorandum. After doing so, we took a nap because of how boring it was to read. We did make this guide that we encourage everyone on our site to read, but we should also tell you that it is still just our opinion on the topic.
Suppose the legislation passed in NYC indicates what the EPA will be doing when things quiet down a little bit. We will be in for many fines being handed out, perhaps starting as early as the fall. It could easily end up being a thing that may start at the beginning of the new year, 2021! 2020 may not have been boring at all. Besides all the limitations put on various businesses, we believe much lead paint testing work will be coming up. The initiatives that are being introduced are undoubtedly going to help consumers.
Is there anything else that you may want us to add on Check4Lead?
Check4Lead was recently featured on many major financial news sites. We are excited about all the exposure we have been able to gather. We also realize that now is not the time to slow down. It’s time to pick up the pace and double down.
That means that we’re investing a lot of money into improving the platform. We continue to increase the focus on the matter. We continue to do various things to help both the average consumer and the contractor be more inclined to stay compliant. Our goal is to work towards a safer future for the American people collectively. However, we do want input from contractors as well. We want to know what bothers you. We want to know how to create better the resources you’re longing for.
We want to help create the resources that help convince customers they ought to be willing to pay the additional money it might cost hiring you. That is, rather than the person who doesn’t have the necessary certifications. But we need your help to ensure that we are focusing our efforts in the right places. Let us know what you want us to help you do. In turn, we would be proud of that means we can earn your business in return when you need your lead testing supplies.
How does that sound to you?