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News Releases from Region 07

EPA Inspectors to Focus on Lead Paint Safety in St. Louis

Contact Information: 
David Bryan (bryan.david@epa.gov)

Environmental News


(Lenexa, Kan., Aug. 7, 2015) - St. Louis, as the nation's "Gateway to the West," is a city known worldwide for its rich history. Unfortunately, part of that history can be hazardous to the health of St. Louis families - especially young children. Such hazards come from exposure to toxic lead, hidden in old paint and other materials contained in older homes, child care facilities, and other older buildings around the city.

That's why EPA's inspectors will be working actively in St. Louis over the next few months to encourage greater compliance with the federal Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule. Homes, apartment buildings, and other structures built before 1978 - of which there are many in the St. Louis metro area - are those most likely to contain surfaces coated with lead paint. EPA's inspectors will be focusing on RRP projects in several St. Louis neighborhoods, both to encourage compliance with the law, and if necessary, to take civil enforcement actions to address serious violations.

The RRP rule requires professionals to conduct any renovation, remodeling or repairs in structures built before 1978 using lead-safe work practices. Firms that renovate, repair and/or paint such structures must be certified by EPA (or an EPA-authorized state program), use certified renovators who are trained by EPA or state-approved providers, and follow lead-safe work practices.

Lead is a toxic metal that has been known to cause a variety of health problems, especially in young children. Lead can become airborne and breathable when surfaces coated in lead-based paint are sawed, cut, sanded, demolished or undergo other construction activities. When lead is absorbed into a human body, it can cause permanent damage to the brain, kidneys and other vital organs, as well as the nervous system.

For this reason, many owners of homes and/or childcare centers choose to have their structures inspected for lead and to have any lead-based paint removed. Property owners and landlords play a particularly important role in protecting the health of tenants and their children.

The RRP rule applies only to renovations performed for compensation; therefore, if you work on your own home, the rules do not apply. But EPA encourages homeowners to use lead-safe work practices in order to protect themselves, their families, and the value of their homes. Because of the serious risks involved in removing lead paint improperly, EPA recommends that all owners of homes and child-occupied facilities call an EPA-certified Lead Safe Firm to handle any renovation, repair or painting jobs.

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