The EPA's Nationwide Lead Law officially takes effect today for work performed on any structure built before 1978 where children age 6 and under are cared for. Many may believe this only includes homes, but it also includes such places as day care centers, schools, medical facilities and many others where children could be exposed to the health hazards of lead-based paint which has been disturbed. The Federal Law requires that all contractors who will be disturbing more than 6 square feet of interior lead-based paint, or 20 square feet of exterior lead-based paint, must be certified in Lead-Safe Practices. This is based on the total amount of work done in any continuous 30 day period, even if 2 square feet is done in a 5 day period in one interior area, and 4 square feet in another area a week later.
Contractors can face significant Federal Fines if this law is not followed. Several States have already enacted State Laws which are more stringent than the Federal Laws, so contractors should check on this possibility also to make sure they are compliant with the State Laws.
We believe that homeowner awareness is also very important, because children can suffer permanent severe damage from lead-poisoning. While the risks are less for older children and adults, there are still risks, especially for certain individuals.
This law is an important step in the right direction toward protecting our children from environmental hazards, which can have such devastating effects on them.