April 22 Deadline Looms for Contractors to Become Lead-Safe Certified

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it expects more than 125,000 renovation and remodeling contractors to be trained in lead-safe work practices by April 22, the effective date for a rule requiring such training. The agency is on target to implement the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule on April 22, 2010, which the agency says will protect millions of children from lead poisoning.

Anyone receiving compensation for renovating, repairing, and painting work in residences built before 1978 that disturbs painted surfaces is subject to the new Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP). Also affected by the RRP are those performing similar work on facilities occupied by children under six years of age, such as schools and day-care centers built prior to 1978.

"This rule strengthens EPA's goal to protect children from exposure to lead-based paint," said Acting Regional Administrator Stan Meiburg. "To be certified, a contractor needs to take a simple one-day course. Beginning April 22, 2010, consumers should ask for proof of certification before work begins."

According to EPA, despite nearly 30 years of effort to reduce childhood lead exposures, a million American children are still poisoned by lead paint each year, putting them at risk for a wide range of health impacts, including lowered IQ and behavioral disorders. Some of that poisoning is a result of dust contaminated by old lead paint that is stirred up during remodeling activities. There are simple steps contractors can take during such renovations to minimize exposures to lead paint.

To ensure contractors were following such procedures, EPA finalized the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (LRRP) rule in 2008. The rule requires contractors to become trained and certified as lead-safe by EPA. Individuals take an eight-hour training course offered by private training providers to become a certified renovator. The certification is valid for five years.

To date, EPA has certified 184 training providers who have conducted more than 4,900 courses. An estimated 100,000 people in the construction and remodeling industries have been trained in lead-safe work practices. Based on current estimates, EPA expects more than 125,000 contractors to be certified by the April 22 deadline. The agency has a number of efforts underway to expedite the training and certification process, it said. Included are a print and radio campaign to highlight the benefits of hiring lead-safe certified firms. As a result, it is expected that training capacity will continue to increase significantly as the April 22 deadline approaches. It is likely that many more contractors and renovators will seek and obtain training after the deadline, the agency noted.

To locate local EPA-accredited RRP training providers using EPA’s search tool, go to http://cfpub.epa.gov/flpp/searchrrp_training.htm. For information on firm certification, visit www.epa.gov/getleadsafe. And for more information on EPA’s lead program, go to www.epa.gov/lead.

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