New EPA Lead Guidelines for Contractors Nationwide

The Environmental Protection Agency has been working for three decades to reduce exposure to lead in lead paint, and on April 22, 2010, new federal laws will require all contractors “performing renovation, repair or painting projects that disturb lead-based paint…to be certified and to follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.”

The lead paint controversy began in the early 70’s and in 1978, the federal government banned lead-based paint from being used in homes. Additional laws became effective in 1996, requiring that individuals receive information concerning a property before renting, buying or renovating pre-1978 housing. Exposure to high levels of lead can be particularly damaging to children whose nervous systems are still developing and to pregnant women, whose unborn children are growing. One out of eleven children in the United States has a high and/or dangerous level of lead in the bloodstream and in 1991, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services called lead the “number one environmental threat to the health of children in the United States.” Children with these high lead levels can suffer from nervous system damage, behavioral problems, learning problems, slowed growth, headaches and other debilitating conditions.

Contractors today must jump through numerous hurdles to guarantee that they are meeting these rigorous safety standards when working with lead paint in homes, businesses and other child related facilities. Thousands of workers performing renovations will have to be trained and certified as “Renovators” by EPA-accredited trainers. Paint professionals and other home improvement professionals will be trained in how to effectively protect household items and how to seal floor coverings from potential contamination while work is in progress. In addition, training will be given in how to use high-powered equipment while working with lead paint and how to contain the dust that accumulates during renovations.

Homeowners who have concerns or questions about lead-based paint and its effects, or how to safely perform home renovations should contact the paint professionals at ALLBRiGHT 1-800-PAINTING, who have received the EPA certification well ahead of the April deadline. They can provide further information about the new certification requirements and lead paint testing.