EPA proposes new lead-based paint rules

In a move that it says is being made to reduce lead poisonings in children across the country, the Environmental protection Agency is proposing new requirements for contractors and construction professionals when working in homes that contain lead-based paint.

EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson said the proposal calls for the prevention of new lead-based paint hazards from renovation activities in housing where children under 6 years old live. He said EPA’s analysis indicates that renovation, repair and painting projects in housing that is likely to contain lead-based paint affects more than 1.1 million children under age six annually.

EPA also is proposing that contractors be trained in the use of lead-safe work practices, renovators and firms be certified, providers of renovation training be accredited, and renovators follow protective work practice standards. These work practices include posting warning signs, restricting occupants from work areas, arranging work areas to prevent dust and debris from spreading, conducting a thorough cleanup, and verifying that cleanup was effective.

The rules would apply to all those who perform renovations for compensation, including renovation contractors, maintenance workers in multifamily housing, painters and other specialty trades.

The new requirements would apply to most renovation, repair or painting activities where more than two square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed.

EPA said it is proposing a two-phased approach. The first phase would apply to renovations in rental and owner-occupied housing built before 1978 where a child with an elevated blood lead level resides, in rental housing built before 1960 and owner-occupied housing built before 1960 where children under 6 reside. The second phase, to start a year after the first phase takes effect, would apply to renovations covered in the first stage plus renovations in rental housing built between 1960 and 1978. The second stage also would apply to owner-occupied housing built between 1960 and 1978 where children under six reside.

For more information or to obtain copies of the proposal and supporting materials, visit: epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation. – JEFF FEINGOLD

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