Contractors play a critical role in helping to prevent lead exposure. If you’re not extra cautious, renovation projects can create toxic lead dust that can be harmful to yourself, your other workers, and even clients.
The Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule outlines requirements for those performing renovations, including contractors, property managers, and others in houses, apartments, and other facilities built before 1978. Read on to learn more about who must be EPA lead-safe certified and why, activities covered by this rule, and tips for preventing health risks due to toxic lead dust.
Who must be EPA lead-safe certified?
According to the EPA, anyone who is paid to perform work that disturbs paint in housing or child-occupied facilities built before 1978 must be EPA lead-safe certified. Examples of those who must be certified include residential rental property owners/managers, general contractors, and special trade contractors (such as painters, plumbers, carpenters, electricians).
Contractors cannot advertise or perform renovation activities covered by the RRP rule in any facilities built prior to 1978 without certification.
What activities are covered by the RRP rule?
Generally, anything that can disturb paint is covered by the RRP rule, including:
- Electrical work
- Painting prep
- Window replacement
What is not covered by the RRP rule?
On the other hand, there are some things not covered by the RRP rule. For example, work done in housing built after 1978, housing specifically for elderly or disabled persons, and zero-bedroom dwellings (like a studio apartment) are not covered.
Additionally, work on housing or components declared lead-free by a certified lead inspector or renovator is not covered because it will have been declared safe, as well as minor repair and maintenance, which disturbs six feet or less of paint per room inside, and 20 feet or less outside.
Why is the RRP rule important?
Most people know lead paint is toxic, but they may not know what can happen if exposed. Exposure to lead paint can lead to high blood pressure, headaches, dizziness, diminished motor skills, fatigue, memory loss, and other neurological symptoms. Even small exposure can be harmful, and while it’s most dangerous when peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking, etc., it’s not just lead paint chips that are poisonous.
Lead paint is also bad for the environment if it gets in the soil.
Renovation products can create toxic lead dust, so you may not even be aware of the poison you’re putting in the air and breathing in yourself. Activities that can create lead dust include sanding, drilling, renovation, or demolition.
Following the RRP rule and being certified ensures the right steps are taken to prevent anyone from being exposed to toxic lead dust during renovations, keeping workers and everyone else safe.
Tips for preventing lead dust from spreading during renovations if disturbed
Whether renovations are being done in a commercial space or multi-family or apartment housing, it’s critical to have safe practices to decrease the spread of toxic lead dust.
You should always hire an EPA Lead Safe Certified Firm or Certified Lead Abatement Contractor to reduce the risk of lead exposure and ensure the renovation project is completed safely and successfully. They are trained on special methods to minimize dust and cleanup, reducing the chance of lead contamination.
Hire a commercial renovation expert
Aeroseal Windows & Storefront is an EPA Lead Safe Certified Firm and has extensive experience in commercial and multi-family/apartment renovations, including window replacement and installation, door renovations, and replacement. We can ensure your renovation project is completed safely and correctly, minimizing toxic lead dust risk and getting your building back in shape quickly.