New Lead-Based Paint Law: Triggers, Exemptions, and Information for Contractors Reply

As of April 22, 2010 contractors performing renovations in buildings built prior to 1978 and where a child under the age of 6 resides must be certified to deal with lead-based paint. The new rule also applies “child occupied facilities” like schools and day care centers. The primary reason for the new law is because of the generation of lead dust during renovation projects involving lead-based paint.

The new lead-based paint rule is triggered when more than six square feet per room is affected indoors or 20 square feet is affected on the exterior of the property. Once a window is factored in any renovation, the rule is in effect.

Zero bedroom facilities like dorm rooms, barracks, and studio apartments are exempt from the new rule. If a home is tested for lead-based paint by a Certified Lead Inspector, the new rule can be avoided. Another exemption is when you are painting over “intact” paint. Intact paint is when there is no peeling paint or prep work like sanding and scraping involved. Housing for the elderly and disabled are also exempt—unless a child under the age of 6 lives there or a child under the age of 6 regularly visits.

Homeowners conducting their own renovations are exempt from the new lead-based paint rule, but information is available. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have released a brochure called, “Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools.” It can be found online at: This pamphlet is a good place to start. Paid contractors performing renovations in homes built before 1978 are required to give this brochure to the homeowners that hired them before work commences as well. Landlords are also required to give the brochure to their tenants if their property was built before 1978.

Those who train contractors in dust-sampling technicians or renovators must also submit digital photographs of every successful trainee.

According to, contractors who perform renovations, repairs, and painting jobs on properties built prior to 1978 should also:

    • “Take training to learn how to perform lead-safe work practices.
    • Find a training provider that has been accredited by EPA to provide training for renovators under EPA’s Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Program.
      Please note that if you previously completed an eligible renovation training course you may take the 4-hour refresher course instead of the 8-hour initial
      course from an accredited training provider to become a certified renovator.
    • Provide a copy of your EPA or state lead training certificate to your client.
    • Tell your client what lead-safe methods you will use to perform the job. Learn the lead laws that apply to you regarding certification and lead-safe work practices beginning in April 2010.
    • Ask your client to share the results of any previously conducted lead tests.
    • Provide your client with references from at least three recent jobs involving homes built before 1978.Keep records to demonstrate that you and your workers have been trained in lead-safe work practices and that you followed lead-safe work practices on the job.”

The Environmental Protection Agency has also published a compliance handbook that is available online here:

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