Lead-Based Paint Still a Serious Concern
Highly toxic lead-based paint was banned in 1978 but remains in about 24 million housing units, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 1992, Congress passed a law requiring the EPA to write a regulation that would implement mandatory training for renovation contractors. The EPA didn’t even propose the regulation until 2006 and hasn’t yet adopted it.
EPA spokeswoman Enesta Jones says the EPA is currently gathering and reviewing feedback about its proposed "Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program" and hopes to issue a final rule by early 2008.
Under the EPA's proposed regulations, contractors working in most pre-1978 homes would be trained in the use of lead-safe work practices; renovators and firms would be certified; and training providers would be accredited.
The EPA recommends that anyone renovating a home built before 1978 test their home for potential lead hazards. The agency also warns against using belt sanders, propane torches, high-temperature heat guns, dry scrapers or dry sandpaper because they could create lead dust and fumes.
Work areas should be sealed off completely.
Once the renovation is complete, a clearance examination performed by a contractor is necessary to check for harmful levels of lead-contaminated dust.
Source: USA Today, Angela Haupt (08/29/2007)