Thursday, September 12, 2019

EPA Inspector General Recommends Improvements to RRP Rule Enforcement

lead paint
The EPA Inspector General found that the agency is not effectively enforcing
its RRP rule due to a lack of communication between regional offices.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General concluded in an audit that EPA is not effectively implementing its lead-based paint rule. The Inspector General cites insufficient communication between offices as the primary reason for inefficiency.

The Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule is a first line of defense against childhood lead exposure. Lead exposure is associated with cognitive impairments as well as bone, blood, and reproductive diseases. There is no safe level of lead exposure; adherence to the RRP rule is critical as EPA estimates 18 million lead renovation projects occur each year.

However, EPA is having difficulty enforcing its own rule due to a lack of coordination between regional offices. According to the report, EPA is not sufficiently tracking regional targeting strategies or RRP outreach activities. Critical information on inspections is also lost between the offices. As a result, the EPA is not accurately evaluating its progress on reducing lead paint exposure.

The report also noted the current EPA administration's failure to mention lead paint as a priority in its 2018-2019 National Program Management Guidances. The 2020-2021 Guidances mention reducing lead exposure as a priority, but provide few measures of progress or information on how this goal will be achieved.

The Inspector General issued several corrective actions with two of them already pending upon release of the report. These corrections include an update to current program guidance, improvement on management oversight, and the creation of more transparent, measurable goals.

One of the most interesting recommendations is the establishment of a forum to share best practices and innovations between the various regional EPA offices. In the report, the Inspector General expressed that EPA regions could benefit from sharing "regionally developed tools, ideas, and approaches."

To learn more about this report, visit the EPA website. To learn more about the RRP Rule and lead paint certifications, visit Zack Academy.

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