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US EPA Actively Enforcing Lead
Paint Rule

US EPA's Region 9 (which includes California) is actively conducting inspections of contractors and others engaged in renovation and repair of buildings constructed prior to 1978. Inspectors are developing cases and determining where the next round of inspections will occur.

If EPA determines there is sufficient evidence of a violation, their enforcement response policy determines the potential penalties and course of action. Once EPA contacts the responsible individual or company to inform them of the violation and associated penalties, the contractor then has an opportunity to enter into settlement negotiations.

In addition to inspections, EPA responds to tips and complaints submitted online. When EPA receives a complaint, a warning notification letter is sent to the contractor responsible for the work—and local authorities such as health departments, air resources boards, and CalOSHA—about the potential health hazard. Inspection information is retained by EPA for violator targeting.

Federal Regulators Adjust Lead Paint Rules
Further Cleaning Verification Not Required

The US EPA declined to add dust testing (or clearance) requirements to the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule that took effect in April 2010. However, regulators made several changes that will provide flexibility for contractors working on pre-1978 buildings, strengthen the rule's health protections, and clarify confusion in the previous version of the rule.

Changes to the rule that must be followed by all contractors working in buildings constructed prior to 1978 include:
  • Requiring renovators to build a containment wall—a barrier consisting of plastic sheeting or other impermeable material over scaffolding or a rigid frame—to enclose an exterior work space and prevent the spread of lead dust outside of the area under certain circumstances;
  • lead paint
  • Clarification that uncertified workers should be trained by certified renovators in lead-safe work practices;
  • Clarification that certified renovators should ensure their workers maintain containment and do not spread dust or debris;
  • Allowing states to charge higher penalties for non-compliance with the rule;
  • Clarification that the rule covers other surface coatings (such as varnishes and stains) besides paint;
  • More explicit minimum standards for HEPA vacuums;
  • Allowing certified renovators to collect paint chips for lab analysis as an alternative to using test kits (except in California where the State has a more restrictive requirement that only inspector/risk assessors can take paint samples to identify lead-based paint hazards).

Contractors face minimum fines of $5,000 and a maximum of $37,500 per violation per day for not complying with these federal regulations aimed at protecting them, their workers, and consumers from exposure to dust from lead-based surface coatings. Failure to obtain the legally-required certification puts compliant contractors at a competitive disadvantage and puts non-compliant workers and the public at risk for lead exposure.    | previous    |    next