Since April 2010, federal law will require that contractors be trained to protect children and pregnant women from dangerous levels of lead. Signed in March of this 2008, the EPA’s “Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Program” is the most important new effort to combat childhood lead poisoning in the last decade says the EPA.
The law will require contractors and maintenance professionals to be certified, and their employees trained. In addition, they must follow protective lead-safe work practice standards when renovation, repair or painting activities will disturb more than six square feet of lead-based paint in a room or when 20 square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed on the exterior.
Contractors will be required to post warning signs, restrict occupants from work areas, prevent dust and debris from spreading, conduct a thorough cleanup and verify that the cleanup was effective.
Two-thirds of homes and half of the schools and day care centers built before 1960 have some lead-based paint. These new requirements focus on those built before 1978, the year lead-based paint was banned, where children under the age of six are present or where an expectant mother resides.
Federal law requires that landlords and sellers renting or selling housing built before 1978 must:
-provide a lead hazard information pamphlet that can help renters and buyers protect themselves from lead poisoning;
-include lead notification language in sales and rental forms;
-disclose any known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in the housing and provide available reports to renters or buyers;
-allow a lead inspection or risk assessment by home buyers; and
-maintain records of compliance with federal laws for a period of three years.
Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure which can cause intelligence quotient deficiencies, reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavior problems. Pregnant women are also vulnerable because lead exposure before or during pregnancy can alter fetal development and cause miscarriages. Adults with high lead levels can suffer high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle and joint pain. Childhood lead exposure is a particularly acute problem for urban children of low-income families who live in older housing.
Homescapes of New England is a certified lead-safe firm. We have a certification number issued to us to verify that we practice safe standards.