New EPA Lead Paint Rule Affects All Homes and
Child-Care Facilities Built Before 1978
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Central Indiana Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is working to make homeowners aware of a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation called the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule (RRP Rule) which will take effect April 22, 2010. It requires all contractors working in residential homes or apartments built before 1978 to follow very specific practices intended to minimize lead hazards to occupants and workers.
Lead was used as a paint and varnish additive until its use was prohibited in 1978. The lead contained in many of our city’s older homes can pose a serious health risk to children as painted surfaces deteriorate or are disturbed during a renovation. Even in small amounts lead can cause permanent neurological damage in young children. The RRP Rule was created to prevent the spread of lead hazards as a result of renovation, repair, and painting activities in homes, apartments, and child-care facilities.
“The new regulation will have far reaching consequences to our older housing stock here in Indianapolis,” says Christopher Wright, President of the Central Indiana Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and an EPA Certified Renovator. “After April 22 if you hire a contractor to perform work in your home, and that work disturbs painted surfaces, you will have to use an EPA certified firm. Contractors that don’t follow the rule are at risk of heavy fines which could jeopardize the completion of your project.”
The EPA’s RRP Rule requires all contractors who intend to work in pre-1978 homes to register their company and complete an 8-hour training and certification course with an accredited trainer. The course teaches how to safely contain lead in a home as it is being disturbed. Central Indiana NARI member companies were among the first in the country to go through this certification course.
Central Indiana NARI wants homeowners to know how to protect themselves from harmful lead exposure during renovations. Effective April 22, if you’re hiring a contractor for a project that disturbs painted surfaces and your home was built before 1978, only an EPA Certified Firm can legally perform the work. The fines to contractors who are not in compliance with the new rule are steep: $37,500 per day, per occurrence.
Under current EPA rules, contractors are required to make homeowners and occupants aware of lead hazards during a renovation by giving them an EPA brochure called “Renovate Right,” which includes facts about lead and lead safety in the home. In addition to this pre-project notification, the RRP Rule also requires specific lead-safe work practices be used by the contractor to control the spread of lead dust. A number of activities are also prohibited, including:
- dry sanding or scraping
- power sanding or planning without a HEPA vacuum attached to the tool
- open flame paint removal
- use of a heat gun above 1100 degrees F.
In addition, each project must be supervised by a Certified Renovator who must display their training certificate on the jobsite. At the end of the project, the Certified Renovator must perform a clean-up verification to ensure no dust has been left behind.
If a homeowner has any doubts about the quality of lead safe practices being conducted in their homes, they should call the National Lead Information Center (NLIC) at 1-800-424-LEAD. They can also find more information on the EPA’s website at EPA.gov/lead.
Central Indiana NARI is committed to helping contractors who work in older homes get the education and training they need to be in compliance with the RRP Rule. We are also working to educate homeowners and neighborhood associations in the Greater Indianapolis area about the new requirements and how to ensure they hire the right contractor once the rule takes effect.
Homeowners and neighborhood associations who want more information may contact Central Indiana NARI chapter President Christopher Wright at 317-506-7106, or Executive Director Larry Dorfman at 317-638-3717. We have experts available by phone or email, as well as speakers who can present the requirements at homeowner association meetings.