New Lead Paint Certification - Angieslist
Beginning April 22, the Environmental Protection Agency will require any contractors who might disturb lead paint in homes, schools and child care facilities built before 1978 to be trained and accredited in proper lead safety techniques.
- The law holds contractors responsible for following strict protocols to maximize the containment of poisonous lead dust. It also prohibits unsafe practices, including open-torch burning and high-heat guns, and using high-speed equipment -- such as grinders and sanders -- that don't contain a HEPA filter.
- 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.
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that about 37 million housing units contain lead-based paint and 23 million contain significant lead-based paint hazards.
Angie’s List tips to keep your family safe from lead poisoning during a renovation project:
- Ask your contractor if she or he is certified in lead-safe work practices. If you live in a home built before 1978, the answer, very simply, should be, “Yes.” And the contractor should have the documentation to back it up.
- Ask, “How will you protect my family from lead dust?” Walk away from any contractor who says it won’t be a problem. A certified contractor should tell you that he or she will follow the new lead-safe work practices, including isolating the area where lead paint will be disturbed with plastic sheeting, posting warning signs, cleaning up thoroughly every day, and avoiding the now-banned removal techniques.
- Make sure your house is free of lead dust after the job is done. Lead dust can be invisible and it doesn’t take much to make your child sick. While the new EPA guidelines call for a cleaning verification, which involves doing a visual inspection, cleaning with a HEPA vacuum and a conducting a wipe test with dry and damp cloths, the only way to be sure that the house is safe, even after thorough cleaning, is to have a clearance exam. Clearance testing involves collecting samples and having them analyzed at a lab for lead content.