New Requirements Proposed for Lead-Based Paint Work

March 3, 2006

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new requirements to minimize the introduction of lead hazards caused by disturbing lead-based paint during renovation, repair, and painting activities.   See 71 Fed. Reg. 1588 (proposed January 10, 2006 ).  EPA’s proposal will apply to most housing built before 1978. 

EPA is proposing that contractors be trained in the use of lead-safe work practices, renovators be certified, providers of renovation training be accredited, and renovators follow protective work practice standards.   These work practices include posting warning signs, restricting occupants from work areas, arranging work areas to prevent dust and debris from spreading, conducting a thorough cleanup, and verifying that cleanup was effective.

The rules will apply to all persons who do renovation for compensation, including renovation contractors, maintenance workers in multi-family housing, painters and other specialty trades.  The new requirements will apply to most renovation, repair or painting activities where more than two square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed.

EPA is proposing a two-phased approach.   The first phase will apply to renovations in rental and owner-occupied housing built before 1978 where a child with an elevated blood lead level resides, in rental housing built before 1960, and owner-occupied housing built before 1960 where children under six reside.   The second phase, to start a year after the first one takes effect, will apply to renovations covered in the first phase plus renovations in rental housing built between 1960 and 1978.   The second phase will also apply to owner-occupied housing built between 1960 and 1978 where children under six reside.

Lead has been linked to a range of health effects, from cognitive impairment and learning disabilities, to seizures and death.   Children under six years are most at risk because their developing nervous systems are especially vulnerable to lead's effects and because of their more frequent hand-to-mouth behavior.

This proposal is one component of a comprehensive program that will also include training and an education and outreach campaign to promote lead-safe work practices.   Comments on this proposed rule, identified by the Docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2005-0049, must be submitted by April 10, 2006 through www.regulations.gov.   For more information on this proposal or assistance in preparing comments, please contact a member of Frost Brown Todd’s Environmental Department.

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