Michael Sharp’s remarks to EPA Regulatory Reform Agenda meetings

Michael Sharp, HMS, Inc.’s CEO, was among the environmental scientists, policy advocates and industry representatives who spoke to the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention’s Regulatory Reform Agenda meetings in Washington, DC on May 1, 2017.

The meetings were held in response to Trump Administration directives to reduce regulation. Sharp took the opportunity to argue for streamlined regulations that reduce industry costs and confusion while still protecting workers and the public from the harmful effects of toxic substances in building materials.

In his remarks to the committee’s meeting on Lead Exposure regulations, Sharp pointed out:

“the level of lead in paint that determines if it’s lead-based was not based on health; it was based on the accuracy of an X-ray spectrum analyzer . . . This leads to the misconception that paints and coatings which do not contain enough lead to be “lead-based,” are safe. . . paint with no lead in it at all could contain cadmium, barium, mercury, asbestos, and numerous other heavy metals and hazardous ingredients. . . We could save millions on inspections if we looked for any deteriorated paint, not just lead-based paint. We could make enforcement of paint regulations simpler, saving on enforcement while increasing compliance. We could level the playing field for contractors on projects that impact paint, allowing more work to be conducted by contractors doing the job well and, most importantly, protect those we are trying to protect more effectively while reducing cost.”

In remarks to the meeting on the Toxic Substances Control Act, Sharp argued for consistency between AHERA regulations addressing the handling of asbestos in schools and NESHAP regulations addressing asbestos in other locations.  He asked, if you want to protect children, or custodial and maintenance workers, “why only protect those in schools? . . . All contractors and construction team members, not just abatement contractors, should be required to go through asbestos training. This would save significant costs involved with the mishandling of asbestos-containing materials and its clean-up. . . combining NESHAP and AHERA would not put significant additional cost on building owners but could significantly reduce the need for enforcement and increase compliance.”

More reading:

Full transcript of May 1, 2017 Toxic Substances Control Act regulatory reform meeting: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190-22478

Full transcript of May 1, 2017 Lead Exposure Regulatory Reform meeting: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190-22477

Washington Post article re: public comment on EPA regulatory reform: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/05/16/epa-asked-the-public-which-regulations-to-gut-and-got-an-earful-about-leaving-them-alone/?utm_term=.e1dcd1dc759d

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