Frequently Asked Questions


What makes Lead so dangerous? 

Lead can be found in a variety of materials and is very hazardous because it can affect vital organs such as the kidneys and the central nervous system. If young children are exposed to lead, there is the possibility of brain damage and mental and physical retardation. Lead expose has been linked to low IQ, learning disabilities, ADD, and behavior problems in children. In the worst case scenario, lead exposure can cause a coma or even death! This is why it is so important that you, your family, and your loved ones are protected from exposure to lead.


Does my house contain lead based paint?

In general, the older the home, the more likely lead paint was used on and in it. This is especially true for homes built prior to 1960, but lead-based paints were still being used up to the time they were banned for residential purposes in 1978.  Only a comprehensive lead paint assessment by a qualified testing firm like Lead Solutions can determine if your home contains lead based paint.  


Is my family at risk from lead based paint in my home?

The presence of lead paint does not necessarily mean that it presents a hazard. To present a health threat, it must somehow enter the body. Paint that is well cared for generally does not pose a danger. However, even in well-maintained homes, friction and impact surfaces, such as door jambs or sliding widows, can create fine lead dust that can be inhaled or swallowed. Lead Solutions can provide comprehensive risk assessment to determine if your building contains a lead hazard.


I have children, are they at greater risk than adults?

Children ingest lead based paint by normal hand-to-mouth activity. Young children absorb a significantly higher percentage of ingested lead than adults. Children living in homes with lead based paint can become exposed to that lead by directly eating chips of paint or chewing on surfaces painted with lead based paint. However, the more common route of exposure is by ingesting lead-bearing dust that is formed by paint when it deteriorates, chalks, or is disturbed through renovation or even abrasion from opening and closing windows. Even in this less direct way, lead based paint can be a source of severe lead poisoning. 


If lead in paint is a health risk why was it ever used in the first place?

Lead based paint was used inside homes because it resisted wear and tear. It was also used on the outside of homes because it can withstand extreme weather changes. Lead based paint kills mold and mildew. Because mold and mildew typically grow in high moisture areas, lead based paint was often used in places where moisture is found. As more was learned about the dangers of lead, Federal legislation phased out the use of lead in paint, and by 1978 it was banned from residential paints altogether.  


What about those home test kits from the hardware store?

There are a variety of at-home lead testing kits, but organizations such as HUD and the EPA do not consider these do-it-yourself lead testing kits to be an official or reliable way to evaluate lead contamination. The EPA goes as far as to say that most of these lead testing kits should not be relied on for accurate results. According to the EPA, at-home kits that test for lead cannot reach layers of paint that may lie deep on walls or other surfaces that may have been painted over one or more times with lead free paint since the original lead based paint was applied.


What is the Lead Based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Program?

The Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program is a federal regulatory program effecting contractors, property managers, and others who disturb painted surfaces. It applies to residential houses, apartments, and child-occupied facilities such as schools and day-care centers built before 1978. It includes pre-renovation education requirements as well as training, certification, and work practice requirements. Training, certification, and work practice requirements become effective April 22, 2010.


Who does the regulation affect?

In general, anyone who is paid to perform work that disturbs paint in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities is affected. This may include, but is not limited to: Residential rental property owners/managers, general contractors, specialty trade contractors, including painters, plumbers, carpenters, window and door installers, siding installers, electricians, drywall installers, handymen, HVAC technicians, and many more.


What does the RRP Program require me to do?

  • Distribute the Renovate Right Pamphlet before the work starts
  • Firms must be certified.
  • Renovators must be trained.
  • Lead-safe work practices must be followed. Examples of these practices include:
    • Work-area containment to prevent dust and debris from leaving the work area.
    • Prohibition of certain work practices like open-flame burning and the use of power tools without HEPA exhaust control.
    • Thorough clean up followed by a verification procedure to minimize exposure to lead-based paint hazards.


How does a Firm get certified?

Beginning in October 2009, firms may apply to EPA for certification to perform renovations or dust sampling. To apply, a firm must submit to EPA a completed “Application for Firms,” signed by an authorized agent of the firm, and pay the correct amount of fees.


How do I get trained and certified as a Renovator?

To become a Certified Renovator, an individual must successfully complete an eight-hour initial renovator training course offered by an accredited training provider (training providers are accredited by EPA, or by an authorized state or tribal program). The course completion certificate serves as proof of certification.


What happens if I don’t get certified or am in violation of the RRP Rule?

EPA uses a variety of methods to determine whether businesses are complying, including inspecting work sites, reviewing records and reports, and responding to citizen tips and complaints. EPA may file an enforcement action against violators seeking penalties of up to $37,500 per violation, per day. The proposed penalty in a given case will depend on many factors, including the number, length, and severity of the violations.


Questions on EPA’s June 18, 2010 Implementation Guidance for the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule


Does EPA’s announcement of June 18, 2010, modify the Lead Renovation Repair and Painting Rule’s requirements that contractors use lead-safe work practices when working in pre-1978 housing or child-occupied facilities?

No. This announcement does not change the requirement that all contractors take steps to protect children and families from the dangers of lead poisoning by becoming certified and following the work practice standards and the associated recordkeeping requirements. As of April 22, all contractors have been required to be certified and follow the work practice standards described on EPA’s website. The effect of the June 18 memorandum only provides firms more time to apply for and obtain certification as a lead-based paint renovation firm before active enforcement of the firm certification requirements begins. EPA is also providing individual workers additional time to enroll in and take the required training course to become certified lead-based paint renovators before active enforcement of the individual renovator training requirements begins. EPA will use its enforcement authority to ensure compliance by enforcing work practice standards and their associated recordkeeping requirements against all renovators and firms. Therefore, renovators who have not been able to complete the training requirements are advised to review EPA’s model training materials are available here. Additional information on lead-safe work practices can be found here or obtained from the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).


All renovation firms, even those not yet certified under the RRP rule, are also reminded of their continuing obligations to comply with Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule’s pre-renovation information distribution requirements, which require that before firms begin each renovation on pre-1978 housing or child-occupied facilities and to comply with the associated recordkeeping requirements. These requirements are explained in the Small Entity Compliance Guide to Renovate Right.


Does the June 18, 2010, announcement mean that EPA will not enforce certification and training requirements until after October 1, 2010, for firms and December 31, 2010, for renovators?

EPA is not stopping its enforcement against any renovation firms and individual renovators who do not comply with requirements of work practice standards and associated recordkeeping requirements. However, EPA is providing additional time for renovation firms and workers to obtain the necessary training and certifications before enforcement of the firm certification and individual renovator requirements begins.

·         Renovation Firms. Until October 1, 2010, EPA will not take enforcement action for violations of the RRP rule’s firm certification requirement.

·         Individual Renovators. EPA will not enforce against individual renovation workers for failure to be trained if the person has applied to enroll in, or has enrolled in, by not later than September 30, 2010, a certified renovator class to train contractors in practices necessary for compliance with the final rules. Individual renovators must complete the training by December 31, 2010.

Renovators who have not been able to complete the training requirements are advised to review EPA’s model training materials are available here. Additional information on lead-safe work practices can be found here or obtained from the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).


Thousands of renovators are already trained and their firms are EPA certified.  Will EPA enforce against renovators who did not receive their training certification before December 31, 2010?

It is most important that all contractors follow the RRP work practice standards.  However, EPA is providing additional time for renovation firms and workers to obtain the necessary training and certifications before the enforcement of the firm certification and individual renovator requirements begins.  Therefore, renovators who have not been able to complete the training requirements are advised to review EPA’s model training materials are available here. Additional information on lead-safe work practices can be found here or obtained from the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).


Doesn’t the June 18 memorandum extend an unfair advantage to members of the regulated community who have delayed compliance with the certification and training requirements and punish those who have complied with the rule?

EPA does not believe that allowing more time for firms to become certified and renovators to become trained extends an unfair advantage.  To the contrary, firms that are already certified can benefit by continuing to advertise that they are certified and may continue to use EPA’s program logo during this interim period.  The Agency also recognizes the challenges some are facing in obtaining training in a timely fashion and is providing additional time to individual renovators to enroll in and take the required training courses before the Agency actively enforces the individual renovator requirements.  EPA is committed to encouraging additional training opportunities in every state to meet this demand for classes.


How does the June 18 announcement impact renovators in states that have adopted their own RRP programs?

As of June 21, 2010, eight states – Wisconsin, Iowa, North Carolina, Mississippi, Kansas, Rhode Island, Utah, and Oregon – administer and enforce their own RRP programs. Renovators working in these states must comply with all applicable state laws, notwithstanding this guidance.


What happens if an individual applied or was accepted for training before October 1, 2010, but the course is cancelled or delayed by the training provider during that 90-day period (October 1 – December 31, 2010)? 

What recourse does the individual renovation worker have after 12/31/10?

The renovator must complete training by December 31, 2010.  EPA encourages renovators and firms to take advantage of this opportunity and not delay in becoming trained and certified.


How soon should renovation firms send their applications to EPA?

Firms should send their applications to EPA as soon as possible.  All firms that are not certified by October 1, 2010, will be subject to penalties for failing to comply with the renovation firm requirements of the RRP rule.  EPA has been working to expedite processing of applications but, under the regulations, may take up to 90 days.


© 2010 Criterion Environmental, Inc.


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