While we’re all aware of the health risks posed by lead, you might not realize that even common renovation projects can be hazardous in terms of lead. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), activities like sanding, cutting and demolition can create dangerous lead dust and chips by disturbing lead-based paint, which can be harmful to both adults and children.
As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I am committed to keeping my clients informed on current regulations pertaining to home safety issues. To protect against the lead risk, on April 22, 2008, EPA issued a rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices and other actions aimed at preventing lead poisoning. Under the rule, as of April 22, 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child-care facilities and schools built before 1978 must be EPA certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
If you are embarking on a home-improvement project, be sure to use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers to follow lead-safe work practices. Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is dry scraped, dry sanded or heated. Dust also forms when painted surfaces bump or rub together. Lead chips and dust can get on surfaces and objects that people touch. Settled lead dust can re-enter the air when people vacuum, sweep or walk through it.
Make sure that your renovators employ the following practices – and you, too, if you’re a do-it-yourselfer:
- Contain the work area
- Minimize dust
- Clean up thoroughly
According to the EPA, to permanently remove lead hazards, you must hire a certified lead “abatement” contractor. Abatement (or permanent hazard elimination) methods include removing, sealing or enclosing lead-based paint with special materials. Just painting over the hazard with regular paint is not enough.
For more information on the dangers of lead and the new regulations regarding remodeling, please visit www.epa.gov, or e-mail me directly. I encourage you to pass this important information along to anyone you know who might be renovating their home.