Staying Informed About Lead-Based Paint

We’ve heard about the dangers of lead-based paint in older homes and office buildings, but not everyone is familiar with the appropriate procedures for dealing with it.

If you live in an older home and you are preparing to undertake some renovations, there are a number of important things to keep in mind.  For starters, people living in homes built before 1978 should obtain a copy of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Small Entity Compliance Guide to Renovate Right.

The handbook summarizes the requirements of the EPA’s 2008 Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Program Rule. It will enable you to ask the appropriate questions of any contractor or repairman.  It’s important to make certain that anyone you engage to work in an older home is certified in lead-based paint removal.

All firms that engage in home repair and renovation should ensure that their employees are trained in the use of lead-safe work practices.  “Renovation” is defined as any activity that disturbs painted surfaces.  This is not confined to just the removal of old paint, but also a broad array of repair and maintenance activities.  Window replacement, electrical work and plumbing all fall into this category if your home, apartment or any child-occupied facility was built prior to 1978.

Ask your contractor to provide you proof of his certification, as well as a lead pamphlet prior to starting any work.  If he cannot, you should not allow him to begin any renovations on your property.

You should understand, too, that in addition to the very strict guidelines put in place by the EPA, individual state or local agencies may have added additional restrictions and that may go well beyond federal requirements.  To obtain information relating to your local community, call the National Lead Information Center at 1(800)424-5323.

As always, Handyman Matters stands ready to assist you with your home repair, renovation and remodeling needs.  Call 1(866)FIX-MY-HOME or go to www.handymanmatters.com to enter your zip code and find the phone number of the location that services your area.