According to news reports, in the wake of multiple violations and fines for improper handling of renovation projects with the potential for lead contamination, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to remind industry and consumers of the proper methods of dealing with a project that could possibly expose people to lead contamination.
Last year, the EPA passed the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, which requires contractors that alter painted surfaces in homes, schools, and child care facilities that were built prior to 1978 to be certified and follow specific methods to prevent lead contamination. Since then, the agency has issued several fines for the improper handling of such projects. A rental property owner in Maine was fined for using untrained workers to operate power equipment in the removal of paint from an apartment structure that was constructed in the 1850s. A home repair company in Nebraska was also fined because of its failure to provide homeowners with EPA-approved lead hazard pamphlets prior to starting work.
Though the law does not apply to homeowners that perform their own work, the EPA does recommend that consumers follow certain guidelines when working in homes that have the potential for lead contamination. Homeowners should cover their floors and furniture with thick, heavy-duty plastic sheeting and avoid sanding lead-painted areas whenever possible. If it’s imperative to sand a lead-painted surface, use a sander equipped with a vacuum attachment and HEPA filter vacuum cleaner, or, at least, a wet-sanding sponge. Prior to painting or applying wallpaper, wash the walls with a mixture of water and all-purpose cleaner.Tweet