Lead Paint, Lead Safety, Lead Removal
For the second straight year, Angie’s List conducted an investigation into the lead-removal practices of more than 200 randomly selected contractors across 30 U.S. cities, while simultaneously conducting a poll of its members. Posing as a homeowner painting a toddler’s room in a 1920’s home, Angie’s List staff asked contractors how to go about the project.
And for the second straight year, the results were alarming: 30 percent of the contractors contacted gave dangerous advice on working around lead paint compared to 34 percent in 2007.
- More than 24 million U.S. homes were built before 1978, when lead paint was banned. More than 300,000 children in the United States have dangerous blood lead levels which often leads to long-term developmental and behavioral problems.
- Contractors who routinely work around lead paint should be educated in its dangers and on how to safely remove it. The Environmental Protection Agency is requiring renovators and remodelers to be certified on lead-safe work practices by 2010.
- Last year’s investigation results prompted Angie’s List to conduct a nationwide lead safety awareness tour last fall, educating contractors and consumers on the proper methods for avoiding contact with lead paint and how to safely remove or encapsulate it – earning the company the Lead Safe and Healthy Homes Task Force’s Award for Outstanding Impact on Children’s Health.
- A recent nationwide poll of Angie’s List members revealed 14 percent have had their child or children tested for lead toxicity compared to 9 percent in 2007. Eighteen percent of Angie’s List members said the information the company provided during last year’s awareness campaign increased their understanding of the dangers of lead.
- A new EPA rule prohibits commonly mistaken practices, such as open-torch burning and using high-heat guns. High speed equipment, such as grinders and sanders, are also prohibited, unless they are equipped with a HEPA filter.
- There are first-step over-the-counter lead tests available for consumers to purchase, but certified lead inspectors offer the most accurate test by using an x-ray fluorescence spectrum analyzer system (XRF) to non-invasively and accurately measure lead levels in the home.
Angie's List rates lead testing and removal and has added special icons to the profiles of service companies on the List that have received lead safety training. Look for the lead safe icon.
*1,196 Angie’s List members took our poll this year. Responses are representative of Angie’s List members, but not the general public.