EPA sets new lead paint requirements for contractors

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved new rules for contractors who renovate or repair homes, child-care facilities or schools built before lead paint rules came into effect in 1978.

The goal of the new rules, which outline procedures for dealing with renovations of lead-painted facilities, is to protect individuals, particularly children, from lead paint exposure.

The "Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Program" rules take effect in April 2010, and prohibit any renovation work practices that “create lead hazards.”

Builders, painters, plumbers and electricians all will be under regulation by the new rules. “Trained contractors must post warning signs, restrict occupants from work areas, contain work areas to prevent dust and debris from spreading, conduct a thorough cleanup and verify that cleanup was effective,” the agency said in a statement.

The rules cover all rental housing and non-rental homes where children under six and pregnant mothers live. The new requirements apply to “renovation, repair or painting activities where more than six square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed in a room or where 20 square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed on the exterior.”

The EPA also plans on an education campaign over the next two years to build awareness of the new requirements.

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