REMINDER: EPA Rule Requiring Lead-Safe Certification Takes Effect April 1
Reminder: New EPA Lead Ruling Takes Effect April 1, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) regulation may seem to have little to do with electrical contractors. But, any type of contractor who performs renovation or repair work that disturbs old, lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be “lead-safe” certified by the EPA and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination — or else face a fine of up to $37,500 per day and also risk potential private lawsuits.
Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips by disturbing lead-based paint, which can be harmful to adults and children. In particular, children exposed to lead at an early age are likely to suffer from a variety of permanent conditions, including brain, liver and kidney damage; slowed development; learning disabilities; behavior problems; lowered intellect; hearing loss; and restlessness.
To protect against this risk, on April 22, 2008, EPA issued a rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices and other actions aimed at preventing lead poisoning. Active enforcement of the rule begins April 1, 2010 (no fooling).
The EPA’s RRP regulation affects a wide range of contracting firms, including renovators, painters, electricians, plumbers, maintenance firms, and others. Even contractors with previous lead abatement training must be trained and certified under this new program. It applies to pre-1978 housing and “child-occupied facilities,” which would include childcare centers and schools.
By April 2010, all firms doing work in pre-1978 housing or child-occupied facilities must meet the following requirements:
- Be lead-safe certified by EPA.
- Employ supervisory certified renovators who have successfully completed an EPA-accredited one-day training course.
- Use only trained workers who have received specific on-the-job training.
- Use specified lead-safe work practices and provide designated educational material.
To apply for firm certification, contractors need to fill out a short application, and submit it with a fee to EPA. (The agency says it’s required by law to charge fees to cover the costs of the program.) Fees vary depending on the certification, but an initial firm certification costs $550. The form, and related material, is available on EPA’s website.
Individual certification requires only successful completion of a one-day accredited training course. There is no additional fee to EPA. The agency has handed off the training responsibilities to 120 private firms teaching the lead-safe course.
Where to get more information:
Additional information about the RRP rule or the certification process is available on the EPA website at http://epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm.
You can also call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD [that's 1-800-424-5323].
A link to download a free copy of EPA’s Small Entity Compliance Guide to Renovate Right: EPA’s Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting is provided below under “Related Documents.”