Contractors Must Comply With EPA Lead Paint Regulations
The EPA has enacted lead paint regulations that affect all contractors in the United Statesby Paul Gordon
The EPA has enacted lead paint regulations that affect all contractors in the United States. Since the rule is targeted at structures that were built pre 1978, areas with older homes, such as the San Francisco Bay Area, are impacted more than other areas of the country.
Lead is a poison, and lead based paint was used extensively during pre 1978 construction. Doing renovation, repairs, or painting activities that disturbs existing lead paint areas, requires compliance with the new EPA RRP Lead Paint Rules & Regulations. Law requires contractors working on pre 1978 homes with lead to be EPA certified. The EPA designation is a "Lead Safe Certified Firm" or "Certified Renovator". Contractors that don't have certification, and disturb lead paint areas in pre 1978 homes, are in violation of federal law and subject to $37,500 fines. Homeowners are wise to verify EPA Certification credentials before hiring a contractor for their own safety.
What does all this mean ? While the rules and regulations appear to be complex, with many ambiguities, it is clear that specific steps must be performed to manage lead dust and debris during the construction process. Simple renovations like bathroom remodels , kitchen remodels , window replacement, dry rot repair, and additions will all be impacted by the new laws. The job for contractors will be harder, longer, and more expensive. Jobs will cost more from contractors due to added labor and material costs.
EPA regulations specify cleaning procedures, work site practices, and documentation requirements in order to be compliant with the new regulations (knows as RRP or Certified Renovator Firm ). Firms that have been through the training successfully typically display the green EPA "Lead Safe Certified Firm" logo.
One of the most important elements of job site clean-up is the use of HEPA lead paint vacuums. This is a specially designed vacuum for the collection of lead dust, using certified HEPA filters.
One of the major issues with HEPA vacuums is the rate at which filters clog. Since HEPA filters capture 99.7% of dust at .3 microns, the filters have a difficult job to do. Lower quality HEPA vacuums clog up frequently. This creates a workplace hazard, exposing the job site, homeowners, pets, and employees to more lead dust contamination because the filters have to be changed. Changing filters at the job site forces the contractor to open the vacuum, touch the filters, causing lead dust to enter the area. In addition, running a vacuum with clogged filters greatly diminishes the cleaning and filtering ability of the vacuum. Smart contractors avoid this issue by using special HEPA No-Clog "vacuums such as the Lead Sucker". These special vacuums have self cleaning filter technology that eliminate job site filter changing. Homeowners should request this from their contractor for their own safety.
EPA regulations and lead paint rules must be followed by contractors performing work for homeowners. Homeowners can be put at significant risk if they have lead paint in their homes, and use non certified contractors. The temptation will be for homeowners to "cut costs" and hire workers that don't comply, but this will cost everyone big time in the long run. Illegal firms can be fined $37,500 and even go to jail. There are even discussions suggesting that homeowners that willingly employ non certified firms to avoid costs may be held liable also. Complicity in committing a federal crime ? Who wants to go there. Be smart. Hire properly certified EPA Lead Safe Certified Firms. Across the United States, smart contractors are becoming certified every day. In California, consumers can find certified firms at www.statelicensedcontractorscalifornia.com as well as the EPA web site .
About the AuthorBay Area Home Improvement Contractor , Golden Gate Enterprises, Inc., is located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Paul Gordon is the president and founder and EPA Lead Safe Certified.