EPA’s Lead Safety Rule on Renovation, Repair and Painting

Finally…some news breaking regarding the EPA’s rulings on Lead Paint Safety impacting Renovation, Repair and Painting of residential and child-occupied facilities (child care).  This rule was announced a year ago and takes effect April 22nd, although some notification aspects of it have already been in effect.  Archadeck, as a national leader in renovating homes through custom outdoor living space enhancements, has been ahead of this curve and has been supporting its local offices such as ours here in Des Moines in preparing for this rule implementation.  Back during our national meeting in January, I took the training required – and earned the EPA certification necessary – to position Archadeck of Central Iowa to perform this work.

That training was eye-opening from several perspectives, including:

  • The risk of lead paint exposure, particularly from lead paint dust particles created during renovation activities we perform (yes, even removing/building  a deck can create an exposure…not to mention roofs and walls), is real and serious – primarily to children under the age of 6, but adults are at risk as well.
  • The enormity of this issue – from the number of homes potentially impacted (any built 1978 or earlier), to the number of contractors such as us who need to be trained and certified to perform this work, to the steps that we as contractors now have to take to address (and document that we did address) the issue appropriately is mind-boggling.  Not rocket-science by any means – involves a lot of Visqueen plastic sheeting, yet another use for duct tape and Swiffers – but an adminstrative headache, for sure.
  • The complexities (or lack thereof) of the enforcement aspect of this ruling.
  • Given all that, the very little “press” and lack of public awareness on this issue.

The Des Moines Register finally broke that silence today in a story in its Business section.  Click here to read that story.

Additional information on the EPA’s ruling can be found by clicking here.

As noted in the Register’s story, and as I learned soon after my EPA certification acquisition in January, the State of Iowa is implementing its own administration and enforcement of rules regarding the removal and repair of lead-based paint.  In order for States to do that, their rulings must meet or exceed the federal EPA standards.  From a call I made to the Iowa Department of Public Health a few weeks back, I have a general expectation of what the differences will be (shorter renewal/certification periods, lower square footage allowances, etc.).  I will also now have to do some reciprocal training and re-certification to attain State of Iowa compliance.  With this announcement today, we – and apparently 15,000 other Iowa contractors – can now pursue this training and State certification.  If not for the Iowa effort on this, we would have dovetailed my EPA training and certification and had our crews already trained and certified by the EPA.  But, because Iowa implemented their standards, we deferred our crew training to occur under State guidelines rather than EPA guidelines.   If I seem a little annoyed with the State of Iowa about this, its because I am.  One, I was trying to get ahead of the curve on this (but probably still am and will be…just not as much).  Two, it’s a little bit of a “cash grab” on Iowa’s part.  That being said, I am in favor of the more local flavor of this.

Long story short, Archadeck of Central Iowa will continue to be ready, willing and able – per EPA and State of Iowa standards – to continue designing and building decks, screen porches, sunrooms, multi-season rooms, pergolas or any other outdoor living structures that attach to (disturb the paint of) homes built in 1978 or earlier that still contain lead paint in the areas we are working in.  If you have any questions about the implementation of this ruling and/or how it might impact you, your home and any projects you are considering for your home, feel free to give me a call, drop me an e-mail or comment here.

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