EPA Certified and capable of legally managing what is mandated by law. For decades, consumers have been warned about the dangers of lead paint. Until 1978, however, this paint was allowed in many homes and businesses. The passage of national legislation in 1978 made it illegal to sell lead-based paint to anyone, effectively removing it from store shelves and contractor inventory. But that didn't completely remove the issue.
There are a number of older and historic homes that still have this dangerous substance on their walls. As long as it’s in good condition, it poses relatively little harm to the occupants of a house. If it chips and peels, or if dust from the paint is stirred up during a renovation, however, the danger is much greater. In these cases, dust is inhaled and/or swallowed, entering the bloodstream and causing a number of developmental disorders in children and health problems in adults. Because lead is such a heavy element, the liver has great difficulty cleaning it from the blood. This means that people who are exposed to lead-based paint could carry the substance in their bodies for decades.
EPA Rules Regarding Lead Paint
Because of the dangers posed by the lead-based paint in older homes, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued rules for contractors, landlords, and homeowners who are renovating their property. Contractors must demonstrate that they know the proper procedures for dealing with lead-based paint by being certified by the EPA to work in homes and businesses that were built before 1978.
Testing for Lead
It’s important for consumers to realize that work in older homes requires renovation teams to take more precautions, and, therefore, can take more time than similar renovations in newer homes. Contractors who know a house was built before 1978 will start by testing for lead on the property. This is a test that can only be performed by a certified contractor. In fact, there are large penalties imposed by the EPA if a noncertified company does this testing. We can help you locate an approved company to conduct lead testing and help you navigate your way through the lead-safe process.
If lead is found, sanding and scraping are particularly dangerous activities. Renovations requiring this can release a great deal of lead dust into the air. Because the lead dust is very fine, it’s possible for it to spread into a ventilation system or gather in areas outside of where the renovation is taking place.
Because of this, the EPA requires contractors to completely seal off access to ventilation and water systems. The area in which the work is taking place must also be enclosed to ensure that dust does not spread to other areas of the structure. Access to the construction site must be clearly marked and sheeting must be put into place to catch dust from workers’ clothes and boots. Everything removed from the construction zone must be wrapped and properly disposed of.
What Should You Do?
If you are interested in renovating your home, give Owens Construction a call. We are EPA Certified and capable of legally managing what is mandated by law.