Finding a painter who is qualified to remove lead paint

Finding a painter who is qualified to remove lead paint

Dear Angie: How do I find a painter who is also qualified to remove lead paint before painting? – Jackie L., New Canaan, Ct.

Dear Jackie: Unfortunately, it can be a challenge to find painting contractors who are properly certified and take seriously the dangers of lead-paint poisoning. But it’s really important to do the work to find them because lead paint exposure can cause irreversible neurological damage, especially in young children.

In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency established stricter guidelines for safe lead paint removal which requires that companies or contractors who perform work that disturbs the paint in homes or buildings built before 1978 – and where children are present – be certified in and use lead-safe work practices. Contractors must complete an EPA-accredited training course to become a Certified Renovator. Prior to the new rule, all contractors were required to do was give homeowners a pamphlet warning about the dangers of lead paint.

Certified contractors should be eager to show you proof of their credentials. Federal law actually requires companies to provide documentation of their certification, as well as recordkeeping related to renovation projects where lead paint was involved. If more than one contractor will be on the job, at least one must be a Certified Renovator. That person is responsible to train all non-certified workers on the job site in lead-safe practices.

Compliance with the requirements adds to contractors’ costs, though. So, it’s possible that some uncertified painters who skirt the regulations will try to win your business offering lower prices than their lead safety-certified competition. Contractors who fail to meet the new guidelines can face stiff fines from the EPA. Still, homeowners can’t assume that the regulation is being enforced.

That’s why it’s important to do your research ahead of time and talk to multiple painting contractors before you hire. Check online reviews – Angie’s List shows a special icon designating companies as lead-safe certified – and ask the contractors how they will protect your family from lead poisoning.  Insist on seeing that certification.

A certified contractor will likely initiate a conversation about lead paint, and tell you how he or she will follow the new lead-safe work practices. Those steps should include isolating the area where lead paint will be disturbed with plastic sheeting, posting warning signs, avoiding now-banned techniques, like using certain high-dust-generating equipment and following specific cleaning protocol. Walk away from any contractor who is dismissive of lead paint dangers. It’s too big a risk to take, and it’s also federal law.

Angie’s List collects about 65,000 consumer reviews each month covering more than 550 home and health services. Angie Hicks compiles the best advice from the most highly rated service pros on Angie’s List to answer your questions. Ask Angie your question at askangie@angieslist.com


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Finding companies certified in lead-safe practices

epa-lead-safe-contractor.jpg

Look for this logo when searching for a company that's certified in lead-safe practices.
Look for this logo when searching for a company that's certified in lead-safe practices.

To find out if a company on Angie’s List is certified in lead-safe practices, look for the EPA icon in the eco-friendly column on the search results page.

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Bruce

Subject: contractors take all the "RISK"

Since these laws started, a lot of contractors find that even if they do everything right they still take the full risk of being sued and or fined. How does one protect himself unless the customer agrees to test of levels of lead prior to job in work areas and even test of the people living in the building! Who pays? Someone else could have been there before and cause the problem, but now it becomes the contractors problem. When you hand the book to a customer all you are doing is telling them how to screw you with the threat of calling the EPA. Even being certified, we stay away from most, unless it is a small job. The people it hurts are the ones in the older houses that can`t afford the added cost...!

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