EPA’s New Lead Paint Safety Requirements

Reader Contribution by Anna Archibald
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When repainting a room, many homeowners don’t think about safety concerns, such as lead poisoning, that could come from disturbing existing paint. Under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule, these issues are confronted head-on, and a failure to comply will earn a hefty fine.

This rule applies to all homes built before 1978, the year lead paint was banned from use in the United States. To ensure compliance with the new regulations, the EPA has put together a full list of its renovation requirements for contractors and homeowners. These went into effect at the beginning of October. Under the new rules, contractors are required to pass a certification course in lead paint safety. A renovation warning sign or brochures discussing the dangers of lead paint are also required at the job site. has a web page devoted to the EPA’s new regulations and contractor certification. It also has a report on the best practices on lead-safe remodeling for homeowners, as well as video blogs and a downloadable warning sign .

Following these requirements will significantly lessen the chance of lead poisoning and make for a healthy and happy renovation. Read this full list of the EPA’s renovation requirements, or check out the EPA handbook that also includes a list of the rule’s guidelines.

This toxic top coat is still present in many homes and poses a threat to the health of residents, especially children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 250,000 American children under the age of 6 have elevated blood-lead levels, and many of these cases were caused by renovation work that disturbs the lead paint in older homes. Lead paint has been a known problem since 1978, before which it was used in almost 40 million homes across the United States.

If you aren’t sure whether lead is a concern in your household, you can hire someone to do a test to determine the level of lead present in your home, or do it yourself with an EPA-approved at-home lead test kit.