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How Contractors Can Navigate Lead Regulations In Pre-1978 Homes

January 31, 2024

Picture of Cecilia De La Rosa

Cecilia De La Rosa

Nearly 38 million homes in the U.S. contain lead-based paint, presenting a significant risk in the renovation of pre-1978 properties. Understanding and managing these risks is crucial for safe and compliant home renovations .

Why is Lead a Health Concern?

Lead exposure  poses a significant risk to various body systems, and its impact is especially severe in young children and pregnant women. Once in the body, lead travels to and accumulates in the brain, liver, kidney, bones and is also stored in teeth. Over time, these accumulations can grow and increase health risks.
Workers working on site

Why was Lead Used in Paint Pre-1978?

Lead was added to the paint for its durability, quick-drying capacity, and resistance to moisture that causes corrosion. Its pigment quality also provided vibrant colors.

Understanding the Lead Regulations

The EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule is a crucial regulation for contractors working on child facilities and homes built before 1978 when lead-based paints were ordinary. This rule mandates that contractors be certified and trained
with practices to safely handle and contain lead particles during renovation, repair, or painting. It ensures the safety of workers
and residents by minimizing lead contamination risks. Compliance with this rule is crucial for health safety and maintaining
professional standards in the renovation industry.

Identifying Lead Hazards in Older Homes

Lead is often found on surfaces like windows, doors, and porches. One method to check for lead presence  is to collect paint samples and send them to EPA-recognized labs for testing. These tests help detect lead, safeguarding the health from potential exposure.
Workers working on site

Pre-Renovation Requirements

Before starting work, contractors must provide homeowners and occupants with the EPA’s Renovate Right  brochure. They must also set up safe workspaces, using plastic sheeting to contain dust and sealing off work areas from the rest of the home.

Safe Renovation Practices to Mitigate Lead Exposure

Recommended practices include

  • Using VacuumCleaners with HEPA Filters
    HEPA filters in vacuum cleaners ensure that lead dust is captured and not redistributed into the environment.
  • Wet-Wiping Surfaces
    The spread of lead dust is minimized by trapping particles on a wet cloth.
  • Avoiding Torching or Heat Guns
    High heat can vaporize lead, creating hazardous fumes to inhale
  • Wearing Protective Clothing
    Prevents lead dust from settling on skin or clothing, reducing the risk of further contamination.

Post-Renovation Compliance and Clean-Up

Cleaning up involves a thorough process using HEPA vacuums and wet cleaning methods. After cleaning, contractors must perform a verification process to ensure that no lead dust remains, using EPA-recognized test kits  or sending dust wipe samples for analysis.

EPA-RRP Initial Certification Class

Learn lead-safety practices to increase construction standards and protect health.

English Class
Date: Feb 21, 2024
Time: 8:30 Am – 5:00 Pm

Spanish Class
Date: Feb 22, 2024
Time: 8:30 Am – 5:00 Pm

11000 SW Barbur Blvd, Ste 100 Portland, OR 97219