News Releases from Region 09
U.S. EPA trainings help protect communities from lead-based paint health hazards
LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the completion of four free lead-safe certification trainings for local low-income contractors and day laborers in the cities of Los Angeles and Anaheim. The trainings are part of EPA’s effort to ensure renovation contractors, landlords and property managers comply with regulations that protect the public from harmful lead exposure.
EPA is also developing a Region 9 Lead Action Plan that will, through partnerships with federal, state and local community-based stakeholders, aim to reduce lead exposure to children and communities. The announcement was made by Acting Regional Administrator Alexis Strauss at a lead-safe work practices demonstration in Anaheim, California.
“These important trainings help residents and workers remain safe during renovation work that often creates hazardous lead dust,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA's Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "EPA is committed to working with state, local and tribal colleagues to protect people, and especially young children, from harmful lead exposure.”
The Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule was designed to protect the public from lead-based paint hazards that occur during repair or remodeling activities in homes, elementary schools and daycare facilities that were built before 1978. Contractors who disturb painted surfaces in these buildings—for example, through window replacement or electrical work—must be trained and certified. They also need to provide educational materials to residents and follow lead-safe work practices.
EPA partnered with the Day Labor Program of the Institute of Popular Education of Southern California to conduct outreach to day laborers and sign up participants. Three full-day trainings in Spanish were held on February 8 and 21 and April 25. One full-day training in English was held on February 22. National Econ, the EPA-accredited training provider selected to provide the trainings, conducted its own outreach to and registration for low-income contractors in the Los Angeles and Anaheim areas.
Over the past two years, EPA Region 9 has trained and certified more than 100 workers and businesses in Southern California and trained 75 day laborers and contractors in Oakland. EPA expects to expand these trainings to Arizona.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has prioritized actions to address childhood lead exposure. Though harmful at any age, lead exposure is most dangerous to children. Lead exposure can cause behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems and diminished IQ. Children can be checked for lead with a simple blood test. In 1978, the federal government banned consumer uses of lead-containing paint, but it is still present in millions of older homes, sometimes under layers of new paint.
Lead-contaminated dust can be easily ingested or inhaled. Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips that can settle on home surfaces. Exposure to such contamination through hand-to-mouth contact or breathing can result in lead poisoning for children, families and construction workers.
Contractors that are certified under EPA's RRP regulations are encouraged to display EPA's "Lead-Safe" logo on workers’ uniforms, signs, and websites. Consumers can protect themselves by looking for the logo before hiring a home contractor, and by being aware of whether a renovator is following lead-safe work practices when working on their property.
More information about EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Program can be found at: www.epa.gov/getleadsafe.