New EPA Lead Rules Will Impact Even Minor Home Repairs
04/17/2010

The EPA's new Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule requires all contractors working in a residence or facility built before 1978 where children are present must be EPA Certified. It's vitally important homeowners check with contractors for this certification.

Online PR News – 17-April-2010 – – April 12, 2010 – Charlotte, N.C. - Most people are aware of the dangers that exposure to lead-based paint can pose – it effects children's brains and developing nervous systems, causing reduced IQ, learning disabilities and behavioral problems, and it can also lead to hypertension and high blood pressure in adults, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). What many homeowners may not realize is that a new EPA rule may cause the issue to balloon when they are undertaking even minor repairs.

The EPA's new Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule takes effect April 22, 2010, and requires that all contractors (plumbers, painters, HVAC technicians, remodelers, etc.) working in a residence or facility built before 1978 where children are present must be an EPA Certified Renovator.

This rule was put into place after a four-year study determined that renovation work, including weatherization, window replacement, HVAC modifications, demolition of interior plaster walls, removal of exterior painted siding and trim, and drilling and sawing into painted wood and plaster, exposes both occupants and workers to the same kind of hazards as lead-paint abatement. That's because, as the EPA notes, the most common manner in which people are exposed to lead is through lead contained in dust. (Just think of all the dust that demolition, drilling, sanding and drywalling stir up over the course of a renovation project!) As a result, all of the contractors who work on homes or child-occupied facilities, such as schools and daycare centers, built before 1978 must have certified workers and their firm must be certified with the EPA. This rule applies to all projects (which homeowners do not do themselves) that disturb more than 6 square feet of a potentially lead contaminated surface inside a building or 20 square feet outside.

At Charlotte-based Palmer Custom Builders a full-service, design/build remodeling company that handles all types of repairs – from the smallest to the most complex – while also building new custom homes, both the firm's owner, Gary Palmer, and his lead carpenter, Hunter Moxley, hold this EPA certification. "The training we received taught us how to effectively contain a work area to prevent the spread of possible contaminants into other areas of the home; proper construction and demolition methods designed to minimize the creation of dust; and EPA-approved clean-up methods designed to eliminate any lead residue," explains Palmer, who views the certification as essential to protecting his clients.

"As a homeowner, it's vitally important to check with contractors to make certain that they have obtained this certification," Palmer says. "Of course, there is the obvious reason – to ensure that the family of the homeowner is protected and that the contractor takes his responsibility to safety seriously. Yet it goes much deeper: the manner in which a contractor treats this certification is, in many ways, a reflection of their integrity that is likely to carry over into other aspects of how they run their business." In addition, not obtaining the certification before working on a project covered by this rule could cause a contractor to incur a stiff EPA civil fine of up to $32,500 per offense as well as an additional criminal fine of $32,500 plus jail time for knowing and willful violations of the requirements (in NC the fine is $750-$1,000 per day until resolved). Such hefty consequences may impact a contractor's overall financial stability as well as their ability to complete and then stand behind your project.

"At Palmer Custom Builders, we are taking our responsibility to homeowners one step farther by testing any children residing in a home built before 1978 which has lead-based paint before we even begin work on the project. It's just one more way we are striving to keep our customers safe," Palmer notes.

Palmer Custom Builders is a full-service, design/build remodeling company that handles all types of repairs – from the smallest to the most complex – while also building new custom homes. Owner Gary Palmer holds an Unlimited Contractors License in both North Carolina and South Carolina, and has built his reputation by drawing upon his decades of diversified experience to deliver simple solutions to complex problems. The company has served Charlotte and the surrounding area since 1986, working with homeowners in locations including Matthews, Mint Hill, Monroe, Weddington, Waxhaw, Marvin, Huntersville and Concord as well as Fort Mill, Lake Wylie and Rock Hill in South Carolina. For more information on Palmer Custom Builders, visit www.PalmerCustomBuilders.com.