EPA issues work rules involving lead-based paint

A new Environmental Protection Agency rule targeting safe work with lead-based paint goes into effect April 22 after years of development.

Under the new requirements, established in 2008, no paid renovation or remodeling work can disturb painted surfaces in a pre-1978 home or child care facility unless the firm performing the work or the individual contractor has completed a one-day training session and has been certified by EPA in safe work practices. These practices include posting warnings, spreading plastic to pick up debris, refraining from using sanders and other tools without a filter, and adequate worksite cleanup.

EPA will make exceptions for jobs where less than 6 square feet of painted surface is disturbed on the interior or 20 square feet on the exterior. Jobs in which paint could be proven to be lead-free also will be exempt.

Lead, which was used in many paints prior to being banned in 1978, has been linked to health problems in children, including behavioral issues, learning disabilities, seizures and even death.

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