Lead Paint Laws Hold Contractors to Stiff Safety Standards

Laura Hennigan
Written by Laura Hennigan
Updated November 17, 2021
The exterior of a blue painted house
Iriana Shiyan - stock.adobe.com

An EPA-certified lead paint removal contractor helps ensure peace of mind during your project

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Since more than half the owner-occupied houses in the United States were built before 1980, many homeowners will likely undergo a large renovation or repair at some point. But before replacing those windows or taking down a wall, it’s important to be aware of any potential risks from lead paint in your home. Being familiar with lead paint laws and finding an EPA-certified lead paint removal contractor will help ensure your next project runs smoothly and safely.

What Is Lead Paint?

Lead is a naturally occurring, toxic metal that a few decades ago was a common ingredient added to paint to help maintain its durability and speed up the drying process. “Lead paint” and “lead-based paint” are umbrella terms used to describe any household paint containing lead.

When lead paint chips, peels, or cracks, it runs the risk of releasing contaminants into the air. Children, in particular, are more susceptible to health issues if the paint is accidentally inhaled or ingested.

What Are Lead Paint Laws?

In 1978 the federal government banned the consumer use of lead paint. Then in 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency introduced its Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP), which requires companies who work on renovations or repairs that may cause any lead paint disturbance to be EPA-certified. This certification requires that contractors follow protocols that minimize and contain lead dust safely during home improvement projects.

Since many people reside in homes built before the 1978 laws, it’s important to be aware of any potential hazards, particularly if you are considering a renovation in the future. 

Why You Should Hire a Certified Lead Paint Removal Contractor

EPA-certified contractors are required to contain the renovation area completely, allowing no dust or debris to escape, and then perform a thorough clean-up once they complete the project. Working with a certified company can help give homeowners peace of mind that they will minimize any lead paint risks as much as possible.

EPA-Certified Lead Paint Removal Contractor Requirements

A contractor removing lead paint from the exterior of a house
Jamie Hooper - stock.adobe.com

In order to achieve EPA certification, local lead paint removal contractors must complete an eight-hour training course, which includes two hours of hands-on learning. After certification, they have a variety of responsibilities to ensure worksites are following safe lead paint removal practices. These include:

  • Providing a "Renovate Right" handout to homeowners

  • Being physically present at project sites when pros are prepping the work area and posting warning signs

  • Inspecting the barriers placed in the work area to make sure to contain all dust and debris

  • Be available either in person or via phone during the entire project

  • Perform cleaning verification once the clean-up is complete

How to Find a Certified Lead Paint Removal Contractor

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website provides a searchable database of certified lead paint removal contractors so that you can find a qualified company in your area.This locator identifies lead renovation, repair, and painting (RRP) contractors who have met the requirements for EPA certification. 

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