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New EPA LEAD Rules to Effect Residential Renovations

by Danielle Johnson, ADDO Real Estate

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 children’s 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, childcare 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. 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.


For more detailed information on these new EPA rules and what to expect visit Lead: Renovation, Repair & Paint.

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 you and your clients.

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