Do as we say dept.: EPA and lead

by Walter Olson on April 16, 2010

The Environmental Protection Agency — currently rolling out new regulations expected to substantially boost the cost of home renovation projects and drive many smaller, less formal repair providers from the market, all in the name of lead reduction — turns out to have lead exposures at its own headquarters exceeding the relevant federal standards in one case by 92,500 percent [Daily Caller] Can it fine itself?

{ 11 comments }

1 Doug 04.16.10 at 9:40 am

What, a gov’t agency ignoring its own rules? Shocked, shocked I am. Well, those nannies know best for us and we need to trust them when they tell us we need to spend money on a regulation that is in search of a problem. I am sure if we think of the children, it will be more palatable. Instead of thinking about spending that money directly for the children. Of course, the upshot will be, more DIY projects, less use of licensed contractors (who probably would do a better job), and a decrease in the value of older housing stock, especially with the increased cost of hiring out the painting or bathroom remodel.

2 gumby 04.16.10 at 11:48 am

If you read the article you find:

1. The EPA doesn’t own the building.

2. The EPA didn’t cause the contamination.

3. The EPA is pursuing cleanup efforts.

4. The EPA removed employees from the contaminated areas.

3 wfjag 04.16.10 at 2:23 pm

Maybe that’s the explanation for EPA’s many inane regulations — they were drafted by people suffering from lead poisoning.

4 JW 04.16.10 at 4:49 pm

@wfjag: Well played.

5 Bernie S 04.17.10 at 9:22 am

Can it fine itself?
Why not. Didn’t you run a piece a short time ago about a Town Council in the UK that sued itself and won (and lost) and then moved for the court to award costs against itself?

6 William Nuesslein 04.17.10 at 11:23 am

The article said “Lead is a toxic heavy metal known to cause permanent brain damage in children. Exposure to pregnant women can transfer to their unborn children. Though exposure to children is lead’s most dangerous impact, adults suffer neurological damage at high exposure levels. EPA says lead is a “probable” carcinogen.”

If the lead levels were as high as reported – “In one case, a dust sample showed lead levels 92,500 percent higher than the equivalent regulatory standard to which EPA says it is comparing results.” -
wouldn’t somebody have been injured?

Of course not. Because lead is not the hazard implied by anti-lead nuts!

7 gumby 04.17.10 at 2:58 pm

William, effects from exposures to many toxic substances often take decades to manifest themselves. It may well be that people will become ill from lead exposure at this site.

What do you base your apparently very strong “lead is not a hazard” stance on? I’ve tried googling for information and can’t find any. The overwhelming consensus is that airborne lead is a toxic substance.

8 William Nuesslein 04.18.10 at 8:53 am

When I was a youngster tetraethyl lead was a component of gasoline. “For the entire U.S. population, during and after the TEL phaseout, the mean blood lead level dropped from 13 ?g/dL in 1976 to only 3 ?g/dL in 1991.”

One reason to ban TEL was that lead “was shown” to cause a 5 point drop in IQ. Has school performance improved since the ban? If so why did we have the “no child left behind” nonsense.

To cause problems lead has to get into the blood steam, yet bicycles are banned for children under twelve because of lead ind the air value in the tires. How, in God’s holy name, would that lead get into a child’s blood stream?

The Chinese toy hysteria was based on two cans of paint applied to a half a million toys. Paint bonds strongly to plastic so the probability of the lead getting into anybody’s blood stream is as near zero as near zero gets. Even if it did the amount would be trivial compared to background.

Lead was in use for centuries and is in use today to make bullets. My friend Jimmy and I had get fun in poring molten lead into sinker molds for fishing. I was a college level instructor in Mathematics and Jimmy was a mechanical engineer.

The study for the IQ effect looked at lead in tooth enamel. It happens that aggressiveness as measured by incarceration rates is inversely correlated to IQ. I believe that lower IQ, more aggressive children will chew on lead tainted window sills. Correlation does not distinguish, by itself, cause from effect, from confounding factors.

I am wary of claims of delayed effects. The ill effects from heavy use of cigarettes wear off over a few years upon suspension of smoking. And some delayed effects may come from lifetime accumulation of materials.

Lead is a problem under high exposures in animal studies. The amount of lead available from incidental use is not high exposure, nor can it be. Unfortunately almost every person will do the word pairing of anti-lead-nut propaganda and will not apply common sense to their conclusions.

9 Carter 04.18.10 at 8:57 am

What’s the source of the lead contamination? It doesn’t really say. We need more information to file a public nuisance suit.

Maybe the DC attorney general can sue on the basis of the district’s Consumer Protection Act.

10 gumby 04.19.10 at 2:33 am

William:

Sure looks like you got the drop on medical science there. Good luck to you.

11 William Nuesslein 04.20.10 at 8:38 am

gumby,

I do not understand your comment. Are you saying that CPSIA is based on medical science? If so, then how is the threat from the air valves in bicycles based on science. What about the lovely lady who lost online bookstore because Senator Murry can not distinguish between a baby’s eating a book from a baby slobbering on a book? Does that constitute medical science?

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