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Contractors and Consumers: New Protections from Lead-based Paint Take Effect April 22; Public Info Session held in Portland, Maine on Friday, March 26

Release Date: 03/23/2010
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – March 23, 2010) – The federal deadline to make lead safety the standard of care for renovations and painting projects in pre-1978 housing is April 22, 2010.

The new EPA rule, announced in 2008 and in development for years before that, sets in place more protective work practices to limit children’s potential exposure to lead dust due to painting, repair or renovation work in older houses and buildings. Anyone receiving compensation for renovating, repairing and painting work in residences built before 1978 that disturbs painted surfaces is subject to the new Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP). Also affected by the RRP are those performing similar work on facilities occupied by children less than six years of age, such as schools and day-care centers built prior to 1978.

EPA, along with federal and state partners, is holding a public information session on the new RRP rule on Friday, March 26, 2010 in Portland, Maine, between 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
The session is free and open to the public. However, space is limited so registration is required to ensure your spot. Registration can be done on-line or in person the day of the session. The meeting will be held at Holiday Inn by the Bay, (http://innbythebay.com/) 88 Spring Street, Portland, Maine 04101 (207) 775 -2311, in the Cumberland and the Kennebec Rooms. Register online at http://www.epa.gov/region1/topics/pollutants/lead.html .

Beginning April 22, 2010, no paid job can disturb painted surfaces in pre-1978 homes or child care facilities unless (1) the firm is certified by the EPA or a state and (2) the renovator has completed training and is a certified renovator. The requirements under the rule apply to maintenance, renovation or repair activities where six square feet (about the size of a poster) or more of a painted surface is disturbed inside, or where 20 square feet or more of painted surface (about the size of a door) is disturbed on the exterior. Window replacement is also covered by the rule. The only exceptions are where paint is proven lead free or the job is smaller than six square feet.

Lead hazards created by renovation and painting projects cause one in three known lead poisoning cases in Maine. Using safe work practices before, during, and after such work prevents the spread of dangerous lead dust and paint chips. These practices include posting a warning sign, spreading plastic to pick up debris, refraining from sanders or other machines without a filter to prevent the spread of dust, thorough clean-up, and checking the work area. A day of training is enough to prepare a renovator, painter, property manager, plumber, electrician, or handyman to use these practices, and federal law now requires it. Landlords who perform the work described above are also affected by the rule and bound by the same requirements.

“Because we have so much older housing stock here in New England, protecting kids from exposure to lead-based paint is one of the most important things we can do. Lead exposure is entirely preventable, and can cause permanent, serious, life-long problems,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator for EPA’s New England region.


Lead, a toxic metal that was used for many years in products such as lead-based paint, may cause a range of health effects from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children six years old and under are most at risk. In 1978 the sale and use of lead-based paint was banned for residential use.

Until the new rule takes effect, contractors should follow these three simple procedures: contain the work area; minimize dust; and cleanup thoroughly.


More information:

Register for the Portland ME informational meeting (March 26, 2010): http://www.epa.gov/region1/topics/pollutants/lead.html

Renovator & Trainers Lead-safe Tool Box: http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/toolkits.htm

Find a certified firm near you:
http://cfpub.epa.gov/flpp/searchrrp_firm.htm

General info on lead:
http://www.epa.gov/lead

National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (1-800-424-5323)

Renovation, Repair and Painting rule:
http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm

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