New EPA Requirements Proposed for
Lead-Based Paint Work
WASHINGTON, Jan. 3, 2006 -- To
reduce lead poisonings in children across the country, EPA is proposing new
requirements for contractors and construction professionals when working in
homes that contain lead-based paint.
"Under President Bush's leadership, we are addressing one of the greatest
environmental challenges facing our most vulnerable residents: childhood
lead poisoning,'' said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "Today's action
brings us one step closer to ensuring that our nation's children are safe
Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years in paint. Lead can
cause a range of health effects, from cognitive impairment and learning
disabilities, to seizures and death. Children under six years are most at
risk because their developing nervous systems are especially vulnerable to
lead's effects and because of their more frequent hand-to-mouth behavior.
Preventing the creation of new lead-based paint hazards from renovation
activities in housing where children under six reside is one purpose of this
proposed regulation. EPA's analysis indicates that renovation, repair and
painting projects in housing that is likely to contain lead-based paint
affects more than 1.1 million children under age six annually. In the
absence of this regulation, lead-safe practices are not likely to be
employed to perform the renovation projects.
EPA is proposing that contractors must be trained in the use of lead-safe
work practices, renovators and firms be certified, providers of renovation
training be accredited, and renovators follow protective work practice
standards. These work practices include posting warning signs, restricting
occupants from work areas, arranging work areas to prevent dust and debris
from spreading, conducting a thorough cleanup, and verifying that cleanup
The rules would apply to all persons who do renovation for compensation,
including renovation contractors, maintenance workers in multi-family
housing, painters and other specialty trades. The new requirements would
apply to most renovation, repair or painting activities where more than two
square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed.
EPA is proposing a two-phased approach. The first phase would apply to
renovations in rental and owner-occupied housing built before 1978 where a
child with an elevated blood lead level resides, in rental housing built
before 1960, and owner-occupied housing built before 1960 where children
under six reside.
The second phase, to
start a year after the first one takes effect, would apply to renovations
covered in the first stage plus renovations in rental housing built between
1960 and 1978. The second stage also would apply to owner-occupied housing
built between 1960 and 1978 where children under six reside.
In 1978, there were three to four million children with elevated blood lead
levels in the United States. Significant progress has been made to reduce
lead poisonings. As of 2002, an estimated 310,000 children had elevated
levels of lead in their blood, according to the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention. While the Consumer Products Safety Commission banned
lead-based paint for residential use in 1978, more than 38 million homes in
the United States still contain some lead-based paint. Two-thirds of the
houses built before 1960 contain lead-based paint.
This proposal is one component of a comprehensive program that will also
include training and an education and outreach campaign to promote lead-safe
work practices. EPA will take public comment for 90 days following
publication of the proposal in the Federal Register.
For more information or
to obtain copies of the proposal and supporting materials, visit: