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Serving Maine Homeowners & Businesses Since 1980

Getting the lead out: New EPA lead paint rules in effect since April 2010

It's all about the children. They aren't born with the innate knowledge to not snack on paint chips around window trim. They don't know the repercussions of putting paint chips and anything else containing lead into their mouths. And remodeling and renovation can cause lead paint to deteriorate into deadly lead dust. Unfortunately, lead can cause everything from brain and nerve damage, to behavioral and learning problems, to slowed growth and issues with their hearing, to simple headaches.

Why do you need to be concerned about lead?

Lead is a toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes. Lead also can be emitted into the air from motor vehicles and industrial sources, and lead can enter drinking water from plumbing materials. Lead may cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children six years old and under are most at risk.

Basic Information from the EPA

get the lead out

EPA Lead Rules

New EPA laws

Beginning in April 2010, federal law now requires that contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. Keith Trembley Home Solutions / Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling of Maine has nine employees certified in the "best practices" methods to control lead dust and mitigate lead in a home or building's internal environment.

Even before contractors are required to be certified and follow specific work practices, the contractor should follow these three simple procedures, described below:

1. Contain the work area. The area should be contained so that dust and debris do not escape from that area. Warning signs should be put up and heavy-duty plastic and tape should be used as appropriate to:

  • Cover the floors and any furniture that cannot be moved.
  • Seal off doors and heating and cooling system vents. These will help prevent dust or debris from getting outside the work area.

2. Minimize dust. There is no way to eliminate dust, but some methods make less dust than others. For example, using water to mist areas before sanding or scraping; scoring paint before separating components; and prying and pulling apart components instead of breaking them are techniques that generate less dust than alternatives. Some methods generate large amounts of lead-contaminated dust and should not be used. They are:

  • Open flame burning or torching.
  • Sanding, grinding, planing, needle gunning, or blasting with power tools and equipment not equipped with a shroud and HEPA vacuum attachment.
  • Using a heat gun at temperatures greater than 1100 degrees F.

3. Clean up thoroughly. The work area should be cleaned up daily to keep it as clean as possible. When all the work is done, the area should be cleaned up using special cleaning methods before taking down any plastic that isolates the work area from the rest of the home. When the final cleaning is done, look around. There should be no dust, paint chips, or debris in the work area. If you see any dust, paint chips, or debris, the area should be re-cleaned.

Give us a call before disturbing lead-based paint in your home.