New EPA LEAD Rules to Effect Residential Remodels

Lead-based paint was used in more than 38 million homes until it was banned for residential use in 1978. For those renting, buying or renovating a pre-1978 home, receiving a copy of the EPA’s lead pamphlet is federal law, and duly warns against things like letting your children chew on the windowsills.

Lead has been shown to affect childrens’ brains and developing nervous systems, causing reduced IQ, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems, and is also harmful to adults. Lead in dust, which is often invisible, is the most common way people are exposed to lead.

Beginning in April 2010 the EPA will require contractors performing work which disturbs lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 to:

• Be EPA certified renovators
• Follow specific lead safe work practices to prevent lead contamination
• Provide homeowners with lead safe work practices documentation

What will being a certified renovator mean?

Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips by disturbing lead-based paint. Certified renovators are trained in the use of lead safe work practices, which include:

• Containing the work area
• Minimizing the generation of lead paint dust
• Thoroughly cleaning up
• Passing a cleaning or “white glove” test

Who needs to be certified?

Anyone who disturbs paint for compensation. It applies to all kinds of contractors including general and specialty contractors such as electricians and plumbers as well as property managers who are conducting their own repairs. Beginning in April 2010, homeowners should ask to see a contractor’s lead renovator certification before deciding to hire them.

What documentation should homeowners receive?

Contractors are already required to provide you with a copy of the EPA’s lead hazard information pamphlet Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools. Beginning in April 2010, homeowners will also sign a pre-renovation form documenting that they have received this pamphlet. After completion of work, they will also receive a report that documents the lead safe work practices used and that a cleaning test was passed.

What lead testing will be conducted?

Certified renovators will conduct a final cleaning test which consists of taking a wipe sample from within the work area. If the wipe test fails, recleaning and retesting is required. Homeowners may also elect to have post-renovation clearance testing done, which includes sending dust samples to a lab to ensure compliance with the EPA’s lead threshold levels.

Infiniti RED owner/agent Danielle Johnson has completed both the LEAD Renovator and Certified LEAD Dust Sampling Technician EPA trainings, and can be contacted for further information at (206) 679-0185.


If you are a contractor and would like more information on the EPA’s new rules and how to become a certified renovator, please visit Lead: Renovation, Repair & Painting.

For Real estate agents the Lead Paint Renovation Rule Compliance Guide: Real Estate Agents and Brokers video is a great tool for better understanding how this new rule affects them and their clients.

One Response

  • John Williams
    Feb 12, 2010

    The EPA has a good reference called “Using Barriers to Contain Dust and other Pollutants” Here is the link from their site. Barriers should be used to contain the spread of dust and other pollutants from the work area to other parts of the home. A simple barrier consists of 6 mil poly sheeting taped over doors and other openings in the room. Poly sheeting should also be taped over any supply and return registers for the home’s heating, cooling, or ventilation system that are in the room to avoid spreading the pollutants or contaminating the ducts. Having blocked off registers, you should be sure to provide ventilation for the area. An exhaust fan, with provision for make-up air, complements this strategy well. For more information, see the discussion of ventilation containment strategies that create a pressure barrier to prevent the spread of pollutants. ZipWall’s new ZipPole system is a great system for only $169, half the price of the original ZipWall Barrier System. Click here to learn more:

    John Williams Feb 12, 2010

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