How the EPA’s new lead paint rule could affect your business

Lead paint has long been known to be a cause of cancer. The purpose of the EPA's new Renovation, Repair & Painting Rule is to protect workers and the building occupants from lead exposure during renovation, repair and remodeling. The rule applies to all trade contractors, including plumbers, heating and cooling specialists, and painters working in any situation where more than 6 square feet of painted interior surface or 20 square feet of exterior surface is disturbed. This includes window replacement. The contractor must give the owner the EPA's "Renovate Right" brochure and have them sign an acknowledgement of receipt. A company contracting work in target housing or facilities must apply to the EPA for certified firm status and must have a certified renovator on site to supervise compliance of lead-safe work practices. Classes and training for certification is available through the local Home Builders Association.

The contractor needs to test for the presence of lead paint using an approved test kit or hire a third party verifier to test the work area with x-ray fluorescence equipment. If lead is present, then lead-safe work practices must be used. If lead is not detected, then the rule does not apply. Safe work practices can be summarized in three steps:

– Contain the work area

– Minimize dust

– Clean up thoroughly

Most conscientious and experienced contractors are already following these steps; it may simply require a little more attention to detail.

If you are considering hiring a contractor to renovate, repair or paint your building or facility, be sure to consult with a certified firm. You can locate one at epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm#related and link to "Certified Firms near you." Note: Check their credentials; using non-certified workers could cause your project to be stopped until compliance is met.

Packer is the owner of Packer Builders. 231.499.0420, pbinc@charter.net

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