Who Needs Lead Certification?

Paul Pogue
Written by Paul Pogue
Updated September 22, 2014
Experts say more awareness is needed about the EPA's lead-certification law for contractors. (Photo by Eldon Lindsay)

Lead-safe practices require contractors disturbing lead paint to hold both firm and individual renovator certification. Know what to look for and how to verify.

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The EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting law requires certification for any contractor who comes into contact with lead paint.

The process follows two tracks, and any company that disturbs paint in pre-1978 housing must hold BOTH certifications.

Who needs lead safety certification?

COMPANIES: Must register with the EPA and pay a fee. In addition, at least one worker at each firm must undergo EPA-approved training and educate other workers on the job.

INDIVIDUALS: Also known as certified renovators, these workers must pay a fee and complete an EPA-approved training program. A renovator trains all workers on the job in lead-safe practices and oversees at least the setup of safety equipment at the beginning and cleanup of debris at the job’s end.

HOMEOWNERS: Verify firm certification online. For individuals, ask for documentation that the supervisor completed a certified renovator program.

Who holds lead safety certification?

A total of 64,047 firms, and more than 290,000 individuals, have completed certified renovator training, according to the EPA as of October 2016. Certification for both remain in effect for five years.

Irene Smith, office manager for Greentree Environmental, a Portage, Indiana-based company that conducts training nationwide, says she’s noticed more trained workers, but thinks more awareness is needed.

“A good 40 percent of the people who take our course think it’s a joke before they take it, another reason to spend money unnecessarily,” she says. “But once they take the class, they have an entirely new perspective and awareness of the effect of lead poisoning in our children.”

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