What the new U.S. EPA "Lead Rule" means to you

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a “Lead Rule” for remodelers of older homes — those built before 1978 — in the hopes of reducing lead paint exposure, especially among children. Renovation activities like sanding, cutting and demolition can create potentially hazardous lead dust and chips by disturbing lead-based paint.

According to EPA estimates, about 35 percent of U.S. homes built before 1978 contain lead-based paint — that’s roughly 38 million homes.

The new standards apply to any renovation, repair or painting contract involving the disturbance of more than 6 square feet of lead paint in an interior room or 20 square feet of lead paint on an exterior wall.

The “Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Program” rule went into effect April 22, 2010, and requires training and certification in lead-safe work practices for builders, painters, plumbers, electricians and others that work in homes and child-occupied facilities built before 1978.

On June 18, 2010, the EPA announced it was delaying enforcement of its rule and acknoledged the need for additional time for renovation firms and workers to become trained and certified. EPA will not take enforcement action for violations of the certification requirement until October 1, 2010.

As a window and door industry leader, Pella Windows and Doors® is committed to our customers’ safety by following the EPA’s guidelines in lead-safe work practices. Your family’s safety is of the highest importance.

Young children at potential risk
According to the EPA, lead exposure can be hazardous to humans and pets, however children under the age of six and pregnant women are at particular risk. Pella has taken care to help ensure that our people and processes meet or exceed the EPA’s requirements for this program.

According to EPA estimates, the likelihood of finding lead-based paint increases with the age of the home. EPA says two out of three homes built between 1940 – 1960 have lead-based paint, while nine out of 10 homes built before 1940 have lead-based paint.

If testing determines lead-based paint is present in your home, Pella’s EPA-certified, lead-safe professionals will complete your project safely and efficiently while complying with EPA requirements.

Requirements for renovation contractors:

  • Firms performing renovation, repair or painting work on homes constructed before 1978 must become certified by the EPA. This can be accomplished by applying to EPA or to the state, if it has an EPA-authorized renovation program, and paying a fee.
  • Firms must have one or more “Certified Renovators” assigned to jobs where lead-based paint is disturbed. To become certified, a renovator must successfully complete an EPA or state-approved training course conducted by an EPA or state-accredited training provider.
  • All renovation workers must be trained. Renovation workers can be trained on-the-job by a Certified Renovator to use lead-safe work practices, or they can become Certified Renovators themselves.

When replacing your windows and/or doors, Pella will comply with the EPA’s requirements to reduce the risk of lead contamination. Pella has team members who are trained and certified to meet the EPA’s regulations for protecting against potential lead contamination.

Protect your family
EPA suggests the following actions if you suspect your home has lead hazards:

  • If you rent, notify your landlord of peeling or chipping paint.
  • Clean up paint chips immediately.
  • Clean floors, window frames, windowsills and other surfaces weekly. Use a mop or sponge with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner or a cleaner made specifically for lead.
  • Thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads after cleaning dirty or dusty areas.
  • Wash children’s hands often, especially before they eat and before nap time and bedtime.
  • Keep play areas clean. Wash bottles, pacifiers, toys and stuffed animals regularly.
  • Keep children from chewing windowsills or other painted surfaces.
  • Clean or remove shoes before entering your home to avoid tracking in lead from soil.
  • Make sure children eat nutritious, low-fat meals high in iron and calcium. Children with good diets absorb less lead.

For more information
Learn more about protecting your family from lead-based paint and EPA’s lead program at http://www.epa.gov/lead or by contacting the National Lead Information Center at 800-424-LEAD (5323).

Iowa offers state certification program
For more information about applying for lead certification or training in Iowa, contact the Iowa Bureau of Lead Poisoning Prevention at 515-281-3479 or 800-972-2026, or visit the state’s website at http://www.idph.state.ia.us/eh/lead_poisoning_prevention.asp.

Check out other Home Safety Fast Facts from Pella:

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