EPA releases new lead paint testing guidance

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued new guidance on the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, specifying which commercially available chemical spot tests can be used to assess the presence of lead-based paints on a property.

The EPA has made a list of recognized test kits available online, complete with information describing which plaster and drywall substrates they can be used on. They must be used in accordance with their respective manufacturer's instructions in order to be counted as complying with the rule, UNITS magazine notes.

The agency requires apartment owners to track any testing done in connection with renovations or repairs, including tests performed by contractors as well as employees. When lead is found to be present on a surface, it must be disclosed to the residents at the time of the lease and any following repairs. The owner or rental property management professionals must be clear and note the finding in their records.

The National Apartment Association and National Multi Housing Council note that current kits are not sufficiently reliable and may give rise to false positives that force owners to pay for unnecessary renovations and repairs. The list of tests recognized by the EPA are not guaranteed to meet the standards of the Department of Housing and Urban Development for purposes of determining whether a pre-1978 property must comply with federal lead disclosure requirements.