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The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued notice that it wants "to determine whether the EPA has an effective strategy to implement and enforce" the agency's lead-paint rule.

OIG gave its heads-up in a letter sent March 28 to two top EPA officials responsible for the Lead: Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule. News of the letter was first reported by InsideEPA.com, an industry newsletter.

"The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to begin preliminary research to evaluate the EPA’s implementation and enforcement of the Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP)," wrote Jeffrey Harris, Director of the Toxics, Chemical Management and Pollution Prevention Directorate in OIG's Office of Audit and Evaluation. "Our objective for this project is to determine whether the EPA has an effective strategy to implement and enforce the lead-based paint RRP."

The OIG notice comes as EPA is at the start of a 90-day extension to propose an update to its standard for lead dust hazards and the regulatory definition of lead-based paint. This proposal has been coming since last December, when a federal court found that the agency was required to update both its lead hazard standard for residential and child-care facilities and its definition of lead-based paint under the Toxic Substance Control Act.

Though the decision was made months ago, the court originally said the agency had 90 days to comply within "the date this decision becomes final." The EPA argued it was never clear when the decision became final, thus receiving the additional 90 days on Monday. The proposal is now due June 26.

RRP requires that when remodelers are working in houses built before 1978 on projects that could disturb lead paint, they must determine whether any lead paint is present and--if they do find presence of the paint or didn't do a test--must then use certain practices to contain the spread of the lead paint dust while they perform the remodel. The company doing the work and the renovators following lead-safe work practices both must be certified by EPA-approved training programs.

Lead has been found to be a health hazard, particularly for children and seniors. The use of lead paint in homes has been banned since 1978.