EPA Region 3
Topic: Renovation, Repair & Painting (RRP) for Parents
Date: March 5 , 2010
[Aquanetta Dickens] The greatest risk is to young children who live in a home during renovation. Lead poisoning is a preventable disease.
[Bonnie Smith] Joining me today is Aquanetta Dickens, a manager at EPA specializing on lead poisoning prevention who is here to talk about a new lead rule.
Hello, I'm Bonnie Smith, from EPA's mid-Atlantic region this is environment matters, our series of environmental podcasts.
Aquanetta, for the first time, requires renovators, repairers, and painters to take additional steps to protect occupants from being poisoned by lead dust. Why is EPA so concerned?
[Aquanetta Dickens] Home renovation can generate a lot of dust if the work area is not properly contained and cleaned. In homes with lead-based paint, this can result in elevated blood-lead levels in young children, and sometimes leading to serious learning and behavioral problems. Childhood lead poisoning is a preventable disease and our goal is to eliminate it.
[Bonnie Smith] What evidence does EPA have that renovation, repair, and painting activities cause an increase in children’s blood-lead levels?
[Aquanetta Dickens] There are numerous studies which show that renovation activities have resulted in increased blood-lead levels in children. In particular, removing paint by using flame torches, using high temperature heat guns, and preparing surfaces by mechanical sanding, significantly increased the risk of elevated blood-lead levels in children.
[Bonnie Smith] Well, what about children who visit a home right after it’s renovated?
[Aquanetta Dickens ] the greatest risk is to young children who live in a home during renovation.
[Bonnie Smith ] About how many builders, painters, plumbers, electricians, and other contractors will be affected by the new lead rule?
[Aquanetta Dickens] EPA estimates that approximately 210,000 firms will be affected. This is the estimated number of companies that will become certified to engage in renovation, repair, or painting activities.
[Bonnie Smith ] AQ, tell us what’s covered by the rule.
[Aquanetta Dickens] The rule applies to paid contractors working in pre-1978 housing, childcare facilities, and schools with lead-based paint. Contractors include home improvement contractors, maintenance workers in multi-family housing, painters, and other specialty trades. The covered facilities include pre-1978 residential, public, or commercial buildings where children under age six are present on a regular basis, as well as all rental housing.
[Bonnie Smith] What does the rule require?
[Aquanetta Dickens] Lead-safe work practice standards require renovators to be trained in the use of lead-safe work practices, that renovators and firms be certified, that providers of renovation training be accredited, and that renovators follow specific lead-safe work practice standards.
[Bonnie Smith ] How does a firm become certified?
[Aquanetta Dickens] Firms that perform renovations for compensation need to apply to EPA or to a state that has an approved program for certification to perform renovations. Firms will have to apply for re-certification every five years.
[Bonnie Smith] When did the new EPA rule become effective?
[Aquanetta Dickens] On April 22, 2010, all renovators must be certified.
[Bonnie Smith] Where can our listeners get more information about the new rule and lead in general?
[Aquanetta Dickens] Listeners can visit our web site at www.epa.gov/lead. They can also call our National Lead Information Center by calling 1-800-424-LEAD, that’s 1-800-424-5323.
[Bonnie Smith] Thank you, Aquanetta, and for sharing this important information about EPA’s new lead renovation, repair, and painting rule and thank you all for listening to environment matters.