Homeowner Alert–The New Lead-Based Paint Rule and How It Affects You

August 4th, 2010
By Scott
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Homeowner Alert–The New Lead-Based Paint Rule and How It Affects You

By Scott von Gonten, CGA, CGP, LLRA, CR, CDST

Do you live in a home built before 1978?

Do you want to do some remodeling to make your home more comfortable, energy-efficient, or “roomy?” If so, consider the following:
• Does your home need repainting?
• Do you need some “Weatherization” improvements?
• Do you need new energy-efficient windows or doors installed?
• Does your siding or trim need to be replaced?
• Do you need a room addition?
• Do you need some electrical, plumbing, or heating/ventilation/air conditioning work done that would involve cutting holes in your walls or ceilings?
• Would any remodeling activity require the removal of baseboards or other moulding?
• Would a roofing project require the drip edge or fascia to be disturbed or removed?

If any of these conditions apply, there is a new regulation that affects you. It is called the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule, which became enforceable on April 22, 2010. This Rule is targeted at reducing your, and your family’s, exposure to Lead-Based Paint Dust generated by traditional renovation work. The Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule (RRP Rule) requires that any renovation of your home, which you pay for, must be conducted by a Certified Firm using Certified Renovators.

This rule requires Certified Firms and the specially-trained Certified Renovators to do their lead-safe work practices in a very specific way and to maintain very specific records and paperwork for up to 3 years. The EPA can demand to see those records up to 3 years in the past. If those records are missing or incomplete or show violations of this RRP Rule, the EPA is allowed to fine that violator so much money, it will likely put that company out of business.

Why is Lead Such a Hazard?

Lead is a very hazardous material that can cause great harm to humans, especially children. Although lead-based paint was banned from residential use in 1978, approximately 38 million Pre-1978 homes contain this hazard.

Lead is toxic, when ingested or inhaled, and can cause children to develop learning disabilities and behavioral problems, such as hyperactivity, and can even reduce their IQ. In addition to nervous system damage, lead can cause hearing damage, kidney problems, and decreased muscle and bone growth, among other issues. Even pregnant women, who ingest or inhale lead dust, can transfer lead to their babies in the womb, which can cause developmental issues. Obviously, these lead-induced problems can negatively affect children for the rest of their lives.

Lead-based paint, which is peeling, deteriorating, chalking, or has been disturbed, is a common source of paint chips and dust, both inside a home and in soil. Children typically ingest lead dust during normal play activities because they often put their lead-contaminated hands, fingers, and toys in their mouths.

Even children who seem healthy may have lead poisoning. The only sure way to determine if a child has lead poisoning is to have your medical provider conduct a Blood Lead Level Test.

Adults can also be affected by lead. When lead dust is inhaled or ingested, adults can develop high blood pressure, hypertension, kidney problems, digestive issues, memory and concentration problems, and joint and muscle aches, among other conditions.

Lead poisoning is, however, completely preventable. That is why it is important for you to be aware of the hazards of lead, avoid contact with it, and ensure that your renovation is being performed by a Certified Firm using Certified Renovators.

New, Confusing “Delay” Announced

Although the EPA’s Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule enforced on April 22, 2010 and was further strengthened on July 6, 2010, the EPA announced a confusing “delay” in the certification requirements on June 18, 2010. However, this announcement did NOT delay the conformance to the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule (RRP Rule) requirements. All lead safe work practices, requirements, and record-keeping mandates must still be specifically followed as the RRP Rule states and the EPA will continue to issue fines for violations. Unfortunately, this announcement is going to cause many people to be confused.

The EPA will now allow Firms to have until October 1, 2010 to “receive” their “approved” Certified Firm certification from the EPA, which can take up to 90 days of processing time as allowed by the RRP Rule. To be clear, the October 1, 2010 deadline is NOT a post mark deadline, it is the date that the “approved” Certified Firm certificate must be “received” back from the EPA. So, Firms should send in their applications right now in order to allow for up to 90 days of processing. After October 1, 2010, the EPA can take enforcement actions for firms not being certified. Remember, even if the firm has not yet received the Certified Firm certificate, the firm must still perform all of the requirements of the RRP Rule.

Additionally, the EPA extended the deadline for individual renovation workers to enroll in a Certified Renovator training class to September 30, 2010 and mandated that the training must be successfully completed by December 31, 2010. However, the EPA still requires all lead safe work practices mandated by the RRP Rule to be followed even if the renovators have not yet taken the training. So, you can see, the “delay” will just cause confusion.

What To Expect During a Renovation

You may want to know some information about what happens during a proper renovation of a Pre-1978 home, with Lead-Based Paint, conducted under the RRP Rule. The information you need will be covered in the Renovate Right pamphlet, but here are some brief points:

• You will need to move everything that can be moved out of the room or area being renovated.

• Your Certified Renovator will need to do several things to prepare for and conduct the renovation:

o Put up caution signs to identify the work area as hazardous and for everyone, except the Certified Renovator and his or her trained workers, to stay out (this is very important for you, your family, and any pets).

o Put up a double door flap, made out of plastic sheeting and tape, over the work area’s exit door.

o Seal off all of the other doors, windows, and heating and cooling vents and returns with plastic sheeting and tape (you may also need to turn off the heating or cooling system during the renovation).

o Cover any remaining heavy objects in the room with plastic.

o Put down plastic sheeting on the floor and otherwise contain the hazardous renovation area in order to keep any dust that is produced inside the containment area.

o Use paint removal methods that minimize the dust being created but should never use the Prohibited Practices, which are explained in your Renovate Right pamphlet.

o Use specialized cleaning techniques to clean the work area such as using a HEPA vacuum and disposable wet wipes

Once again, consult the Renovate Right pamphlet for more information on what to expect during a renovation.

Please Keep Your Family Safe

If you are a homeowner considering any type of remodeling or renovation project on your Pre-1978 home, please make sure you are keeping yourself and your family protected from lead-based paint hazards. Please ensure that any contractor you get a bid from or hire to perform the work is a “Certified Firm” and has a “Certified Renovator” assigned to your project. Additionally, prior to the beginning of your renovation project, you must receive a free copy of the “Renovate Right” pamphlet from your contractor and, after your renovation project, you must receive a free copy of the post-renovation disclosure from your contractor, which lets you know how the Certified Firm complied with the RRP Rule.

You can go to www.epa.gov/lead or call 1-800-424-LEAD (5323) for lead data. Additionally, you can get some great information from the National Center for Healthy Housing at www.nchh.org.

This information is important for you and your family. Please keep informed about the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule and its requirements to help prevent lead poisoning.

Article by Scott von Gonten, CGA, CGP, LLRA, CR, CDST with ConserveIQ, LLC. Providing you with Licensed Lead Risk Assessments, Lead Inspections, Clearance Examinations, and Consulting as well as the most accurate, effective, and memorable Certified Renovator Training and Certified Dust Sampling Technician Training available. ConserveIQ is partnering with the National Center for Healthy Housing, an EPA-accredited training provider, to present Certified Renovator and Certified Dust Sampling Technician training Nationwide. Scott is a Licensed Lead Risk Assessor and Principal Instructor for NCHH, and a member of the NAHB Society of Honored Associates, the Faculty of the NAHB University of Housing, the Certified Graduate Builder Board of Governors, the NAHB University of Housing Instructor Review Board, the NAHB Associate Members Committee and Designations and Training Sub-Committee, the GHBA Executive Committee, the Boards of Directors for NAHB, TAB, BABA, and GABRA, as well as many other boards, councils, and committees at the national, state, and local levels. You can contact him at svongonten@conserveiq.com or (713) 213-1205. Take the “ConserveIQ Quiz” at www.ConserveIQ.com.

Posted in Healthier Living, Lead-Based Paint Regulations, Renovations

About the Author
Leading the way for conservation is the ConserveIQ Professor and President, Scott von Gonten. He is not only a Certified Green Professional, he is also an approved instructor for Green Building. Learn more about the ConserveIQ Professor.

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