Monday, January 31, 2011

New Lead Paint Law - what's up?

Here's a portion of an article from the Wall Street Journal 5/10 written by SARAH E. NEEDLEMAN.

Contractors and other professionals who work on building renovations are worried that a new government ruling aimed at protecting against the risks of lead-paint poisoning will add another financial burden to their already distressed sector of the economy.

As of late last month, businesses that repair or renovate older buildings—specifically homes, schools and daycare centers built before the federal government banned the use of lead-based paint in housing in 1978—are required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to adhere to strict lead-safe work practices. To comply with the new regulation, those working on older sites will need to invest in lead-testing kits, plastic sheeting, respirators, protective clothing and other lead-safety materials.

At least one worker involved in such projects will also need to become certified, at a cost of $300 every five years, and pay out-of-pocket for eight hours of training. Those who don't comply could face fines up to $37,500 a day.

Renovation activities that disturb lead-based paint can create hazardous lead dust and chips, the EPA says. The agency—which estimates that 87% of homes built before 1940 and 24% of homes built between 1960 and 1978 have some lead-based paint—launched a public-service campaign last month to warn consumers about the hazards of lead-paint poisoning, which can lead to nerve disorders, high-blood pressure and memory loss.

The new law went into effect in April, but the hazards of lead-based paint have long been known and many businesses have been taking precautions to protect against lead poisoning since the late 1970s. Sarah E. Needleman

I'm all for being more aware of and excersing more care when renovating a property which has lead based paint, mold or asbestos, however, the fines are really exhorbitant as you will see below.

You certainly can make the decision to not follow the guidelines but is it really worth getting a fine of this magnitude? I think not. My lead foreman has gotten the certification and we are working within the guidlines called for as far as paint prep goes.

It will raise the cost of a paint job simply because of the prep needed and the fact that if someone lives in the home the job-site must be cleaned every day and all new plastic, hazard suits, etc. are required at the beginning of each new day of work. I'm educating all of my clients and anyone who calls for a bid. I'm not taking any chances on getting a fine and it's simply time to not take any chances with our health.

Will the fines come down or, if one gets caught, be this high? Who knows, but not worth testing it to me.

Do your own research and make sure exactly what's going on with the paint in your home and that the contractor painting is certified, or not. It's your choice. I've heard that the homeowner could get fined if they choose to hire an uncertified person but I've not found any evidence of that so make sure before you go the less money route.

Again, it's all about clarity.

No comments:

Post a Comment