EPA lead paint law

Effective April 22, 2010, remodeling contractors working on residential homes, home day care centers or any other “child-occupied facility” built before 1978 must be certified to perform any work affecting more than 6 square feet of interior or 20 square feet of exterior surface. Failure to comply can generate very serious penalties for contractors and painters. An opt-out option for homeowners has been eliminated.

An employee will also need to be certified as a Certified Renovator, responsible for training other employees and overseeing work practices and cleaning. Owner and Certified Renovator certifications are valid for five years. Firms must be certified as well, and a self-employed person must obtain certification as a firm and as a worker. The following is a brief description of the law and requirements.While these laws do not apply to homeowners doing their own work, contractors should not take chances–Fines can exceed $37,500 per day

Coverage: The EPA rules apply to renovation, repair and painting (RRP) work conducted for a fee in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities where the work involves the disturbance of more than 6 ft of painted surfaces per room or more than 20 ft of paint on exteriors (total). Unfortunately for people who wish to update their windows and doors, these quantity exemptions do not apply, and the full procedure described below must be done for even the installation of replacement window sash requiring any removal of old sash or moldings.

Compliance training session for contractors
Compliance training session for contractors


Work Practices: Before the work starts warning signs must be posted outside the work area and set up containment to prevent spreading dust, applicable to both interior and exterior projects. Open flame or torch burning, use of a heat gun that exceeds 1100°F is forbidden. Motorized sanding and grinding must be equipped with a HEPA exhaust control. Occupants must be excluded from the work area, which must be isolated from the rest of the dwelling or child-occupied facility by appropriate means. Plastic sheeting, which must be disposed after each use, must be used to cover floors and other surfaces on building interiors and plants and ground on exteriors.

EPA specifies the use of a “cleaning verification” procedure, which is carried out by the on-site ”Certified Renovator” to determine if interior work areas have been adequately decontaminated. Massachusetts DOS allows the use of tarpaulins to cover plants and ground on exterior projects, provided that the tarpaulins are thoroughly decontaminated after each use and not subsequently used for any interior work in target housing and child-occupied facilities.

HEPA vacuums must be used, not just shopvacs with HEPA filters.  Clean up procedures must be supervised by the certified renovator, following EPA guidelines. The certified renovator must verify the cleaning by matching a cleaning cloth with an EPA verification card. If the cloth appears dirtier or darker than the card the cleaning must be repeated.

Verification and record keeping: Complete records on the project must be kept by the certified renovator for three years, including verification of owner/occupant receipt of the Renovate Right pamphlet, Certified Renovator certification, and proof of worker training.

(1) The home or child occupied facility was built after 1978.
(2) The repairs disturb less than six square feet interior or less than 20 square feet exterior (no exemption allowed for windows)
(3) If the house or components test lead free by a Certified Risk Assessor, Lead Inspector or Certified Renovator

Massachusetts: EPA supervises this rule except in states such as Massachusetts that have been given the ok to run the program. Firms or other entities performing work require licensure as “Lead-Safe Renovation Contractors,” in Massachusetts or as “Certified Firms.” under EPA administration. Massachusetts DOS allows deleading Contractors licensed by 454 CMR 22.00 to perform renovation work without the separate license.

Contractor Licensing Fee Documentation:
The license costs $375 for five years in Massachusetts.Applicants must submit identifying information,professional certifications related to lead-based paint activity and any previous violations.. Companies must document that a person in a supervisory capacity has received the one-day Lead-Safe Renovator-Supervisor (“Certified Renovator”) training.Entities with employees must document that a medical monitoring/respirator protection program is in place. The license requires corporate articles of organization, business certificate, etc., as applicable. If an employer, list your current and past employees and document workers compensation coverage.

On-site Supervisor Requirement: EPA requires the supervisor (“Certified Renovator”) to be on site only during certain phases of the work. Massachusetts DOS requires the supervisor (“Lead-Safe Renovator Supervisor”) to be on site at all times when RRP work is in progress.

Training and Certification Requirement for Supervisors: EPA requires a one-day “Certified Renovator” course given by an EPA-certified training provider. The training/certification is good for five years, after which time the “Certified Renovator must take a one-half day refresher course. Mass DOS also requires respirator/personal protection training elements for firms with employees, apparently not required for self-employed persons.

Certification and Licensing: DOS allows firms that were certified with EPA as “Certified Firms” prior to July 9, 2010 to perform RRP work in Massachusetts without becoming licensed by DOS as a “Lead-Safe Renovation Contractor.”

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