Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Lead Paint Regulation Goes Into Effect - Happy Earth Day!

lead paint on leila's houseImage by wayneandwax via Flickr
Today is the 40th Birthday of Earth Day.  To celebrate the occasion, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Lead Based Paint (finalized in April 2008) regulation goes into effect today.  The regulation we are talking about is the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule.  The purpose of this rule is prevent lead poisoning of children.  Starting today anyone who is paid to perform work that disturbs paint in housing and child-occupied facilities built before 1978, including all general contractors, maintenance staff, and special trade contractors (such as painters, plumbers, carpenters, and electricians), are required to be trained on lead-safe work practices (become certified renovators), requires the firms to be EPA-certified, and requires the use of lead-safe work practices.  In addition, the regulation requires the firms to keep records for three years of reports certifying that lead-based paint is not present, records relating to the distribution of the lead pamphlet, signed and dated opt-out clauses, and documentation of compliance with RRP.  These regulations do not apply if the firm obtained a signed statement from the owner (known as the opt-out provision) or the work is considered a minor repair and maintenance activitiy that disturb six square feet or less of paint per room inside, or 20 square feet or less on the exterior of a home or building.  The rule require firms performing renovations must ensure that:
  • All individuals performing activities that disturb painted surfaces are either certified renovators or have been trained by a certified renovator.
  • A certified renovator is assigned to each renovation and performs all of the certified renovator responsibilities.
  • All renovations use lead safe work practices.
  • Pre-renovation education requirements are performed, such as distribution of the Renovate Right pamphlet.
  • Recordkeeping requirements are met.
Violators of this regulation can face penalties of up to $32,500 per violation, per day.  Needless to say if you have not taken this training and applied for EPA certification you cannot perform renovation work on housing or child-occupied facilities until you get your certification.  EPA has up to 90 days after receiving a complete request for certification to approve or disapprove the application.  EPA has said "it does not intend to take enforcement actions against firms who applied for firm certification before April 22 and are just waiting for their paperwork."  EPA also said "they anticipate that all applications filed before April 22 will be reviewed by June."  Based on EPA's website they estimate there are 129,000 to 150,000 trained certified renovators by today.  It would seem those certified renovators are going to be very busy. 
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