The EPA’s 2010 guidelines regarding lead paint Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) are continuing to come under fire.

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) has urged the new Republican Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to review amendments made to the RRP rules, particularly a provision that would have allowed many homeowners to remain exempt from the legislation.

The regulations, which went into effect last May, require that renovations on pre-1978 constructed housing must be performed by an EPA-certified contractor and follow a prescribed set of rules. Specifically, the EPA no longer allows homeowners residing in pre-1978 constructed homes with no pregnant women or children under the age of six (the at-risk population) to remain exempt from the regulations. The rules affect more than 200,000 contractors from a variety of trades, according to Painting and Wallpaper Covering magazine.

The regulations stem from a 1992 Congressional directive requiring the EPA to develop and issue regulations governing renovations involving lead paint.  There is scientific evidence linking new cases of childhood lead poisoning to improper renovation of homes containing lead base paint, where work areas had been insufficiently contained and cleaned.  Almost 1 million children in the United States have elevated blood levels resulting from exposure to lead hazards; leading to lower intelligence, learning disabilities and behavior issues.  Adults, also, can suffer adverse health effects from lead poisoning.

Because Atlanta has so much new housing stock, most homeowners won’t have to worry about the lead regulations.  But, if your home was built before 1940, there is an 87% chance that it contains lead paint. If your home was built between 1940-1960, there’s a 69% chance it contains lead paint.  And, there’s a 24% chance if your home was built between 1960-1978.  The Paint Doctor has taken the EPA-required lead paint coursework and is awaiting the official document announcing certification.

More details of the lead rules:

  • The rule requires “spot testing” for old lead based paint only in those areas where existing painted surfaces are going to be disturbed, and then only when six square feet or more of painted surface per room is involved. Otherwise, any renovation work in that room or area is excluded from the rule.
  • This spot testing is fast and inexpensive, and typically would cost a contractor less than $100 for a whole house of your size, both inside and out.
  • Any area testing negative for old lead based paint is excluded from rules, and no additional cost would be incurred.
  • Areas testing positive will fall under the rule.

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Archie Deese