Lead paint law holds contractors to stiff safety standards

Steven Rappaport is looking for a contractor to redo the kitchen floor in his 1909 home in San Francisco's Mission District, and he wants to make sure the renovation won't expose him to any toxins that might be lurking in the paint or materials used to construct his Victorian-style abode.

"I look for the sensitivity of the contractor to see whether they seem to be aware that it's an issue," says Rappaport, who knows about the dangers of lead-based paint, having had his home inspected for lead hazards when his son was small.

For his upcoming renovation, Rappaport is relying on his best judgment by interviewing prospective flooring companies about what they'll do to contain hazardous substances, but now a new Environmental Protection Agency law will help him with his hiring decisions.

"I definitely think it's a good thing to have the regulation in place," Rappaport says. "The more people who are educated about it, the better it will be."

Is it enough?

The federal regulation — known as the Renovation, Repair and Painting Program — holds contractors responsible for following strict protocol to minimize and contain lead dust during home improvements on residences built before 1978, the year lead paint was banned in the U.S.

According to EPA estimates, some 37.8 million homes and child-occupied facilities will fall under the aegis of the new rule.

"I think it's really important people know lead dust from renovation can cause elevated blood levels in children and in others," says Maria Doa, director of the EPA's National Program Chemicals Division. "Prevention is so important. You can do that by minimizing exposure to the dust."

While some contractors and homeowners say complying with the new law will drive up costs, many hail it as a positive step toward protecting children, pregnant women and others from lead poisoning.

But lead safety advocates, contractors and public health officials say that too few homeowners and contractors know about the law and that the EPA won't be able to effectively enforce it.

The truth about lead

The law requires contractors to get certified in lead-safe work practices if their work disturbs more than 6 square feet of paint on the interior or a 20-square-foot section on the exterior of a home built before 1978. The older your home is, the more likely it contains lead-based paint, which can turn into a fine, ingestible dust if disturbed.

"There are a lot of misconceptions about lead," says Rebecca Morley, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Center for Healthy Housing. "People think it's a problem of the past. People still believe that kids can only get lead poisoning by eating paint chips and that it's a problem with parenting and not with housing."

Health experts say anyone can be poisoned by lead, though children below the age of 6 are at particular risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates some 250,000 U.S. children between the ages of 1 and 5 suffer from lead poisoning, meaning they have more than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. Children who have elevated blood lead levels can experience developmental and behavioral problems down the line.

Too few trained

Companies in some 50 categories on Angie's List — from remodeling to windows to flooring — could be affected by the rule. But advocates, trainers, contractors and public health officials interviewed for this story expressed concern that there were too few instructors to get all contractors trained by the April 22 deadline.

The EPA projects that 212,000 firms and 236,000 people need certification in order to comply with the law. But as of press time, only 817 firms and 13,669 contractors have done so, according to the agency. The EPA had only 133 accredited trainers, though Doa pointed out that some trainers travel out of state to host classes.

"We believe there's sufficient capacity," Doa says. She expects demand to increase as the deadline approaches. "In fact, classes are being canceled because they're not filling up." However, there were several states that had no trainers listed on the EPA's website in late February, including Rhode Island, Louisiana and Arizona. The EPA declined to comment on this point.

In order to get the word out, groups like the National Association of Home Builders, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and labor unions have held webinars, produced podcasts and distributed information about the rule via print and online publications. The National Center for Healthy Housing has held classes to certify trainers around the country.

"I think the hardest people to reach are going to be the handypeople — the guy who works out of the back of his truck," says Patrick MacRoy, an EPA-certified trainer with the center.

Contractors unaware

Many contractors who are already certified or plan to express concerns about others who aren't aware of the law and those who will knowingly flaunt it. Many contractors who've been certified expressed frustration that the EPA hadn't launched a marketing campaign earlier.

Karl Derr of highly rated Integrity Construction in Indianapolis practiced building a containment barrier around a wooden door frame with plastic sheeting and other lead-safe practices at a certification class in early February attended by contractors from nearby cities like Chicago and Louisville, Ky.

Derr says most of his professional colleagues are unfamiliar with the new EPA rules. "I'm telling some of my buds and they have no idea what I'm talking about," says Derr, who supports the law. "Everyone and their mother knew for a year that [analog] broadcast television was going away, but not when it's something like this."As of press time, Doa said the agency planned to ramp up its publicity as the deadline for certification approached by reaching out to contractors through magazines, radio and other media.

Dave Mallas of A-rated KD Remodeling in Lombard, Ill., hadn't heard about the EPA's program in early February. "Apparently they didn't give me the memo — I must have been out that day," says Mallas, who thinks concerns about lead are exaggerated even though he regularly works in homes that are 100 years old or older.

Mallas says the EPA rule is "good to know if we're redoing a nursery, but I'm not going to change my work habits."

Certified trainers say they're concerned that noncompliant firms will outbid them for jobs and unwitting customers won't know the difference.

They say the cost of following the guidelines — considering record-keeping requirements, time and extra materials — could add anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars to renovation jobs, depending on the size, though the EPA estimates it will add $35 per job on average.

But Bill Simone, president of the Custom Design & Construction in Los Angeles, says the EPA can't adequately project the costs because it's not out in the field, doing the work.

"To ask the EPA what this is going to cost is like going to a podiatrist for a brain tumor," Simone says. He says the extra time and materials needed to comply with the law will hurt his bottom line. "It's a business killer, plain and simple."

The details

Evanston, Ill., home inspector Kurt Mitenbuler says the requirements are straightforward, easy to implement and unlikely to add exorbitant costs.

"Any well-managed construction project would already take into account these things just for cleanliness, just so you don't have crap floating through the house, let alone lead-based crap," says Mitenbuler, who's an industry vet of 30 years and familiar with the law. "I don't view the new restrictions as being punitive."

The new law may also include an "opt-out" provision, allowing homeowners to sign an acknowledgement that would waive their contractor's obligation to use lead-safe practices if they live in the residence, no children under 6 or pregnant women live there and there are no child-occupied facilities, such as a day care, on the premises.

Homeowners living in pre-1978 homes should expect to receive a "Renovate Right" pamphlet from their contractor before they begin work. Unless they opt out, they should also see their contractor removing all furniture from the work area, creating barriers with plastic sheeting and posting warning signs.

Some 8.4 million renovation projects will be regulated by the new rule in the first year. A few states, including Wisconsin, Iowa and North Carolina, so far have adopted their own Renovation, Repair and Painting programs, which allow them to institute more stringent rules and have more local oversight. The EPA is hoping other states will voluntarily get aboard in coming months.

The EPA acknowledges its own initial efforts around the law will be focused on bringing contractors into compliance, though Doa says violators will still be punished.

"The focus will be bringing people into the fold," she says. "[But] we certainly do intend to address violations. We'll certainly deal with tips and complaints where we know there are issues."

Clearance versus cleaning verification

Many lead safety crusaders say the EPA's program is a reasonable, common-sense approach, but health experts believe it should go further by requiring a clearance test after the renovation is complete instead of cleaning verification.

Clearance testing involves collecting samples and having them analyzed at a lab for lead content while the cleaning verification involves doing a visual inspection, cleaning with a HEPA vacuum and a conducting a wipe test with dry and damp cloths.

Joseph Walseth, who works for the San Francisco Department of Health's childhood lead program, applauds EPA's rules, but doesn't feel the cleaning verification is adequate.

"If there is a dust clearance done at the end of the work, where sampling is done to make sure that there is no residual lead dust, that would be truly a comprehensive approach to the problem of lead hazards generated due to work that disturbs lead-based paint," he says.

But Shelley Bruce, who supervises the Wisconsin Division of Public Health's lead program, says cleaning verification is reasonable because renovators aren't lead abatement professionals.

"They're under the obligation with this rule to leave that house as clean, if not cleaner, than when they entered," she says. "Using the visual inspection and the cleaning pads and that protocol makes pretty sure they are leaving it no dirtier than when they arrived." She adds that the burden is on the homeowners to pursue more stringent testing.

Why it matters

Experts say anyone with concerns about lingering lead-dust hazards should consider hiring professionals licensed to conduct testing and abatement. Member Alison Stevens discovered her son Trevor had an elevated lead blood level after having some exterior painting done on her 1890 home in Arlington, Mass., last year.

After the incident, her family had their home lead tested and abated. "Lead dust hadn't even occurred to me as a source of concern," says Stevens, whose son now has a healthy lead level. She says the new EPA regulation offers peace of mind for future renovations.

"It seems like a smart place for the government to step in, especially in a place where the public is not fully educated, like we weren't."


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Comments

I hired a window manufacturing company locally in Los angeles to install retrofit windows. My house was built in 1960 like most houses in the valley and probably has lead paint over the windows. After the workers started their installation I noticed that the original frame was not replaced or covered. Basically, they push a window into the existing window, leaving the lead covered frame still exposed. I have no clue why those companies are even allowed to do a job like this. If you choose not to disturb the lead, and use a retrofit window, the installers should at least use a final cover for the frame and seal it with silicon. I contacted our sales person, mad as hell, asking him to cover the frame. His reaction: more money. I wouldn't even agree to half a job! Yes, construction companies!!! You will never ever do this job in your own home. You will know better and replace the whole window. You will also cover the lead painted frame. I am disgusted and feel ripped off to again believe constructors that they will do the job 100%. Every time I did a job in my house: painting, tile, and now windows...it is all done 50%...never 100% correctly. I am happy the government is doing something about it. The profit in the construction industry are so huge that the least companies should have is certification, licenses and permits to make sure they don't take shortcuts. And that is just what I think.

I have done construction for over 25 yr on homes that are pre 1978 and have never ever heard of anyone pregnant or under the age of 6 having any problems from any renovation that was done. Who makes this stuff up any way? After the last two years I have had hanging on to my business by a thread due to the recession I guess this is the final curtain. I guess I'll go on welfare if I cant get a job flipping burgers. Thanks EPA.

The EPA wants to protect us against the hazards of lead paint. How about protecting us from the dangers of starvation? My family’s bread and butter is remodeling jobs on older homes. And with the economy as it is, make that our bread. We can't afford butter. Everyone in this business has already taken a beating. I call this the final nail in the coffin of my husband's business. Let's just call this what it is... a bunch of bureaucrats creating jobs for themselves, not to mention what is being collected in fines. So the EPA is planning on crippling a major segment of our economy in the name of “protecting us.” Of course this is like pulling bricks from your foundation to build the walls. It might work for a little while but in the long run, down comes the house. I hope that our citizens realize that small business is the foundation of our economy? If our government isn't supporting the small businesses, then we don't stand a chance. Is this really what our citizens want?

I recently got an estimate for new gutters and the company wants to charge an addition $1000 because of the new EPA law - because his guys need to wear protective covering, yet prior to this, he told me his guys always wear protective covering?! Is this guy hosing me?

In response to your comment, CD: The new Environmental Protection Agency regulation does not address issues related to buying and selling your home. However, since 1996 federal law has required that sellers must disclose to buyers any known information about lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before selling houses built before 1978, the year lead-based paint was banned in the U.S. Sellers must provide potential buyers with any records pertaining to the same and provide a federally approved pamphlet on lead hazards. Potential buyers also must be given a 10-day period to conduct a risk-assessment or inspection for lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards. Landlords have the same obligations toward potential renters before a lease takes effect. To read more about disclosure requirements, visit the EPA’s Web site: http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/leadbase.htm.

I've been painting my (built in 1961) own house since 1987 when we bought it. Are we going to have to prove there is no lead in the walls that we have painted over and over when we sell?

I just had the lead clearance test done after some work was done and it cost me over 500 dollars! We are a couple just starting out and we dont have that kind of money to be getting tests like this done every time we want to work on our home that was built in 1930.

Yes I'm EPA Certified. $220.00 plus 300. for epa $520.00 For flooring contractors, to do a larges bath 10x7 first in CA no one will tell us where to dispose of garbage, It Has to be treated as hazardous Waste but they did say for under 220lbs of garbage A MONTH the test on how hazard the garbage is is 330.00 upto 3 tests at 110 each, plus hazard dump fees, plus plastic, tape, suits, claeners and a very long list with 2 to 3 times the labor. In the last few years its been break even on jobs , No one will pay 3 to 4 times the price of the job Now. This is going to kill the pre 78 construction

Uncle Sam will protect YOU... no matter what it may cost YOU.

Doesn't make sense to me. We are getting a tax credit to save energy, but we have to pay about $100 extra per window to keep our kids safe... can some unravel that for me. I can understand the need for public day care,schools etc,but homeowners should have the right to choose. Nobody wins here the homeowner or the contractor.

I attended the course today, and would say that the "professional" replacement window companies are in trouble. Where were the window manufacturers lobbyers when we needed them? When I returned home tonight I decided to calculated the total amount of 6mil plastic it would take to replace my daughters bedroom window in my house. It would take minimum 330 square foot to conform to EPA standards (1 piece 10'x20' outside, 6'x10' under window , 3' x 7' to close off the door way to bedroom, and 8'x 6' to wrap up the old window for disposal). Guess where that ends up? You guessed it, the landfill. Cant wait to throw away a full house full of plastic on next job. Great thinking EPA..... Who are you protecting?

I think we know what we have to do. We need to tell our customers we are now going to raise our prices again. I believe some customers are willing to pay the extra cost. But some people will tell the contractors there's no way I can afford this extra cost to have you work on my building. So guess what the contractor is going to do - they need to up-sale the jobs to all customers. This will include painting of any surface or any other projects that may need to be done on their building that is from 1978 or older, that has do with disturbing any painted surfaces on a building. I hope EPA understands what it's like to be a contractor in this economy. I hope this works for everybody with this new lead abatement program.

The EPA estimates a cost of $35 per job to follow the new guidelines? That's insane. We're doing it already, and it costs more than that just in 6 mil plastic on a small job. then there is the set-up and takedown time, the record keeping, the cleaning, the cleaning verification...it is costing us EASILY $500 to $1000 on a $30K job, and that's after the initial investment and the inspection fees.

the bill says it costs the private sector over $100 million. No big deal to those that print money, but to those that do not it is.

DN - Please read what I said: "Yes, this has been going on a long time, and is not unique to this administration." And what I *did* attribute as unique to this administration was NOT this particular regulation, but its intent to use regulation **in lieu of** law. I did NOT claim that this regulation was an example of that, and in fact gave a different example. My intent was to show that this situation will only be getting WORSE, not BETTER. That part I could have made clearer.

hank- my understanding is that these regulations, although they go into effect this month, were scheduled by the last administration. you may not like the current administration, but you cannot blame everything on it.

FYI - the EPA does not make "laws", hence titling this piece the "EPA Lead Law" is a misnomer, and indicates a fundamental misunderstanding. Laws can only be created by Congress. We are now at the point in this country where **regulations**, made by executive branch agencies, rather than **laws** created by the peoples' representatives, are ruling our lives. Yes, this has been going on a long time, and is not unique to this administration. What is unique is the propensity for this administration to use regulation **in lieu of** laws, when it cannot pass the laws it wants. The best, most current, example is the intention of the EPA to essentially regulate "cap & trade" into existence, regardless of the fact that the Congress seems unable to pass a "cap & trade" law.

I work for a window replacement company and am looking at charging homeowners an additional $75 a window for pre 1978 homes. My salesmen are really concerned about the non certified companies and how it will effect them when our companies prices are more expensive than theirs. I think this is going to be a bad situation. I was asked by one salesman if they can turn in their competitors if they are not certified. I think the EPA is going to get alot of phone calls turning in violators.

My wife got so wigged out about lead that she had all three of our kids tested...no lead whatsoever in their blood. This after doing much renovation to our 1937 house. We're clean people anyway, so I think an ounce of prevention, like a regular vaccuuming schedule, goes a long way to prevent any problems.

Uncle sam PLEASE STOP PROTECTING ME!!!! Its gone way to far.

The EPA fee is not just $300. It is $250 for each trained individual, + $300 for the firm. This is $550 for every trade except lead abatement that is significantly more. Contractor insurance rates will go up as well due to the new lead safe practices liability. I have already turned down three small interior remodels in older homes with children as a direct result of this law. I am discouraging people from performing minor interior renovations that are not necessary. Larger projects that can be isolated to an entire section of the house can make sense. However, tearing into one wall to replace a window, some trim, patch some plaster, etc. in an occupied house is no longer feasible. I make it a point to really interview potential clients over the phone now, ask how old the house is, if there are other contractors, are they EPA certifies, how much are they charging, etc. A lot of the times the estimated project cost of the uncertified (and sometimes unlicensed) contractors is under the cost of the required EPA protection alone. Another tip, licensed contractors are not only qualified building professionals, they are fingerprinted and have passed a criminal background check. There is a reason that unlicensed contractors have no license. Please be careful. If you cannot afford a project, postpone until you can do it right with the best firm available. It's not worth putting your family at risk.

I took the class, scored 100% on the test and was the first one done. Basically, it is now impossible to work on a pre 1978 home with children. The EPA law is in direct violation of OSHA laws. You are not allowed to work on 6 mil plastic. Your ladder will slide out from under you. Shame on the EPA for lying about the cost. There will be a class action law suit against the EPA by both contractors and homeowners. If you own a pre 1978 home with lead paint you will not be able to find a legit contractor who follows the rules without paying an extravagant amount of money and your home value just went down significantly. You will now have to disclose that your house has lead base paint to new buyers. The first time violation of the lead law is $65,000 (double $32,500 for knowingly violating the law).

Thanks for your comment, Julie! Angie’s List will be adding an icon to the profiles of contractors who are certified by the EPA in lead-safe practices. The icon will be accompanied by the following text: “EPA Lead-Safe Certified: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has certified this company as trained in proper lead safety techniques for work that may disturb lead paint in homes, schools and child-care facilities built before 1978.” We have added these icons to the profiles of firms that had been certified through mid-March so if you're a contractor and your company has been certified since then, please contact us at CompanyConnect@AngiesList.com so that we can update your profile.

Thank you for you comment, Gary! Many window replacement companies will have to become certified under the new Renovation, Repair and Painting Program. In fact, there were several window replacement professionals in a lead-safe renovators class reporter Emily Udell attended in Indianapolis in February. Any renovation that disturbs more than 6-square-feet section of paint on the interior or 20-foot section on the exterior of a home built before 1978 will have to be conducted by a certified firm. However, if a company is performing work only on homes built after 1978, for example, they would not have to be certified.

Cost to Firm and 1 employee is around $800-$850 for certification FOR 1 STATE. Additional states are $35 EACH. Only 1 trainer in Kansas City area. I won't do anything on houses build before 1980 if it involves disturbing Paint.

Will Angie's list be including whether firms are EPA certified? That would be useful. Also I'd like to correct a previous comment; the EPA firm certification fee for renovators is $300. If you also want to be a be certified to do a job specifically to address lead paint hazards it's $550 and has different requirements. Go to www.epa.gov/getleadsafe for more info.

Colorado. EPA CERT cost300.00 class 240.00. 35.00 is a joke. Time to do paperwork and post notices will cost three times that. Their cost is based on the minimum of plastic needed. You will need to enclose an entire room. I'm looking at a minimum of 350.00

EPA license is $550.00

How does this effect replacement window companies who quite often leave behind the chipped paint areas?

I live in Wisconsin and just went to an informational meeting on this. In Wisconsin, the laws are stricter than EPA's, so be aware that your state laws might be stricter than the federal laws. Also both the company and an individual on the project has to be certified lead removers. It's an 8-hour course that costs $250. The certification costs around $35-$50 and lasts 4 years in my state, but it varies. www.epa.gov/lead

I recently took the Lead Renovators course, scoring 100 on the test. For the EPA to guesstimate $35 in additional costs, it makes me wonder if I took the correct course. The course I took suggested creating double walled plastic airlocks, completely covering rooms affected by work with plastic on the walls, ceilings and floors and also use swifters to clean every nook and cranny. We even received a guide card showing how to judge the color of used swifters and whether they are to dirty or not. I applaud the EPA finally getting serious about this lead problem, but I hope they take a more advanced look at the costs that will accrue as we Contractors implement these changes. $35 would not even cover the additional materials let alone the extra labor, the broom clean days are gone.

What licenses are needed? hope it is free

Duh, Thats what the government planned on. Thats why they put sanctions and restrictions on things like this. Whole lotta money to be made off of enforcing this crap. Job security. Can you blame them? I do it if I had that kind of power!!!

Check out the MA Childhood Lead Paint Poisoning Prevention law. If you own a pre-1978 home, you've got a lot of responsibility on your plate.

This is just going to open a black market for illegal repairs.

People need to understand this is all about money. They do not care about your safety. Like i said it's about one thing. MONEY!!! If they really cared they would have a EPA person at every job.

I have no problem complying with any regulation the government imposes regardless of my personal belief. What I have a problem with is that the state I live in, requires all of us to be licensed, registered, and insured with them. The state has the list of all of us who are registered. NO ONE from any government has contacted us about this certification and its mandates. They have all of our information. They want to do radio ads to inform us ?

This new epa rule is nothing but a money grab. I have been painting & remodeling for nearly 20 years. I don't have lead in my system. I wear no special suits or masks usually. Think about it. Hundreds of thousands of contractors in every field have to pay a minimum of $350.00 to $550.00 for this special certification but the homeowner can do anything they want on their own without repercusions . We are talking billions of dollars to the epa which is a government entity. What do you think happens to all that money, not to mention the additional cost to the homeowner when they contract the work out. Bullcrap

I do not understand what added expense you have other than the clearance test , Tarping and containing dust is the proper way to do the job. The people that are against this are not educated in proper construction. I am a operation Manager for a Restoration company , I am trained in lead. I went to the RRP certification class, the things they spoke of our company has been doing for years . The problem isn't the government , the problem is home builders and hack contractors maximizing there profits , Using the cheapest labor to be found . I hope this law weeds out the Hack contractors and undesirables and let the pros take care of business. The EPA have changes in place now on some of the regulations . We need to look at ourselves and what we do rather than do the easy thing like pass the blame to someone else .

Great! With this additional $75 per window charge, I will not be able to replace my windows. Thanks Nancy Pelosi and congress for imposing another restriction via the EPA.

What a joke~! This lead driven thing is just a scam~! Is it really so strange to NOT ALLOW your KIDS to chew on the trim or walls~! How did I ever make it to age 55 without the govt taking such great care of me~!

i will just be ignorant untill some headlines are made here in va no one advertises this law but i did see a class in a paint store very few contractors know about it. They need to spend millions to advertise it call & mail. Easy for the govt to do just create another branch of govt & print more money. Then get another nit wit to say it will only cost 35 bucks to comply. I want to go choke someone...Morons!

I hate to sound so cynical, but it is all about political contributions by the big home builders to the Democrats thinking that they could get people to tear down old homes and they could get Real Estate cheaper. Then they had to put a scary face on it....lead based paint. Lead based paint's risk has diminished substantially. It is also difficult to isolate this as the cause when kids are exposed to lead in the drinking water in some areas and lead in the paint on their toys etc.....

I am 50 years old and a small contractor. We all grew up with lead paint and lead in the gasoline, isn't it amazing we are all alive. None of these things can be nearly as bad as they say or we would all be dead or brain damaged by now

I solicited bids from 2 licensed painting contractors to do some interior painting in my 1911 home. Most of the items to be painted were installed in 2003 and there is zero risk to anyone. The first said he was not interested in bidding due to this law. The second gave me a bid 3 times higher than expected. I ended up painting it myself. I would love to have helped out a small local contractor, but these guys are terrified of this law. I called the EPA and said that it is ridiculous to have these rules when the items eing painted are only 7 years old. She said it makes no difference. The fact that they are in my house creates liability. My understanding is that lead levels have decreased significantly in the past decade due to so many people remodeling. This is just crazy!

The EPA's only responsibility should be to inform people about possible hazards and unsafe conditions. You check the constitution: I didn't see one thing about the EPA and its powers. If you notify people of POTENTIAL problems, they can make up their own minds. AWARENESS is the key. My home was built after 1978 but I lived in a home built in 1898 for 27 years, fully aware of the lead paint on the beautiful architecture, window and door frames. But it was my decision. And I would move back into that old house in a minute if it ever came up for sale. Renovating an old home is much better for the environment than building a bunch of condos slapped up in little time, without enough insulation, and with no personality. You shouldn't be penalized if you live in an old home. I don't like the government making all my decisions for me. Besides, it's not the government's responsibility to do it. I agree with some of the previous comments: It's just another way for the EPA to expand its power and employee base, but all it does is cause problems. It should stick to informing the public and let it go at that. They are running the small contractors out of business, and I would hire a small contractor over a large company anyday of the week. I'm 65 years old and I've survived all of the things you've mentioned, and still have good health for my age. And, I've made MY OWN decisions without the help of the EPA. With the economy the way it is, you should be figuring out how to help it, not hinder it.

In a shrinking economy with plummeting renovations and more and more jobs being lost daily, this new law seems punitive and yet another way for our government to lose more jobs. $35 added per project my A$$!!! Who the heck does these calculations? A consensus board of contractors or some lady whose pushing this agenda? I'd like to know. While lead paint issues need to be address, the way the govt is doing it is poorly thought out, hurts our already shrinking small businesses, and will encourage more illegal activity. Why not have a coalition with contractors and businesses represented, govt representation, and other necessary agencies involved in coming up with MEANINGFUL laws and regulations that will encourage and stimulate job growth while at the same time adding safety measures for lead-based risks??????? This whole thing seems haphazardly thrown together and is really yet another disappointment in the way our government is handled and the direction it is heading in.

Interesting article about who is behind this- the Home builders and the delay of enforcement. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704895204575320880925552208.html

I love this country, since I was 10 years old. I've grown with this love and respect to this country, despite being living in hostile regime, regime wich seeded hate to anything what was remaining USA, and its people. I still love. But why are you so self-destructive, why are you let your government to manipulate you so much? Why you people can step twice on same mine? Why are you at time of election listen to demogogues, who pursue their own agenda? I was working for 35 years doing remodeling of old houses. Often I was forced to burn, to scrape. to tear painted by lead paint wood. I never wear mask, uncomfortable. I didn't see child affected by this. Yesterday, I was looking on old house with another guy. We wanted to buy it, fix and he would live on 1 floor and rent 2nd. AT time, agent told us about new law. It is scared us. We decided do not attempt to buy this house. He will live in same apartment. Do not will be better to inform owners with prove of danger having lead based paint in their house? Let them decide when remove it. I have no agenda driving me to write this. Look at penalties this law imposing. Isn't this cruel? Please, do not retaliate on me for writing: it truth I am out of doing, what I was doing for those years. There is better way. To do nothing. Peter.

Jim, I don't entirely agree about the black market. There is always going to be some level of illicit activity in any industry. I think the penalties are so strong, that it will prevent a huge influx of illegal repairs.

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