Lead Safety

On April 22, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enacted the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (LRRP), which requires remodelers working in homes built before 1978 to follow work practices designed to minimize the exposure of residents to lead hazards. The LRRP rule is designed to protect pregnant women and children under 6 from toxic lead exposure by requiring contractors to complete an eight-hour training course outlining lead-safe work practices that contain and minimize lead dust. Those who complete the course must supervise the renovation of pre-1978 homes, and the contracting firm must be a certified firm with the EPA.

If your home was built before 1978, there are steps you can take to protect your family from the dangers of lead poisoning. The following is a checklist for homeowners living in pre-1978 homes:

  • Verify that your contractor’s firm is registered with the EPA unless your state has taken over with its own lead safety program, in which case the certification process may be slightly different. To find out if your state is working under its own lead program, visit http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm#authorized
  • Verify at least one person is a Certified Renovator and has documented the training of the work crew and is supervising the work being completed in the home.
  • Know that these certifications must be accessible at the work site at all times.
  • Firms must post signs before renovation begins, clearly defining the work area and warning occupants and other persons not involved in renovation activities to remain outside of the work area.
  • Make sure you understand and sign the EPA’s “Renovate Right” brochure.
  • Remove all belongings from the immediate area of the renovation.
  • Notice if your contractor is using plastic sheeting that is taped 6 feet beyond the perimeter of surfaces undergoing renovation; reusable cloth coverings are not acceptable.
  • Renovators should be cleaning up and mopping daily to minimize dust contamination.
  • Contractors must use HEPA vacuums and/or wet mopping to remove lead particles.
  • All contaminated materials should be placed in heavy duty plastic bags before your contractor disposes of them.

Be cautious of anyone who is disregarding the rule by using un-safe lead work practices. For those choosing to do the work on their own, please visit the EPA site for more information about lead-safe work practices that will minimize lead exposure.