The USEPA Lead Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Program – the RRP Rule

Lead Based Paint

To ensure that property owners and occupants are able to act quickly to preserve their homes and property in the wake of disasters, the RRP rule includes an emergency provision exempting firms from certain requirements.

EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule) requires that firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities and pre-schools built before 1978 have their firm certified by EPA (or an EPA authorized state), use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers and follow lead-safe work practices.

This is the first of a number of blog posts that will, over time, address lead paint and lead paint renovation issues. This post starts with the basics of the USEPA Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule based on USEPA’s responses to frequently asked questions about the Rule.

 Question: What is lead?

Answer:

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-based paint is present in many homes built before 1978.

The federal government banned the use of lead-based paint in housing in 1978. To learn more about lead, visit www.epa.gov/lead.

Question: Where is lead found?

Answer:

Many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint. In general, the older your home, the more likely it has lead-based paint. Soil around a home can contain lead from sources like deteriorated exterior paint, past use of leaded gas in cars, or from past renovation activities. Household dust can pick up lead from deteriorating lead-based paint, from past renovation projects, or from soil tracked into a home. If you work with lead, you could bring it home on your hands or clothes. It is important to shower and change clothes before going home. Launder your work clothes separately from the rest of your family’s clothes. To learn more about sources of lead, visit http://www2.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead#found.

Question: I thought lead-based paint had been phased out.  How many homes still contain lead-based paint?

 Answer:

HUD’s National Survey of lead and Allergens in Housing estimated that 38 million permanently occupied housing units (40% of all housing units) in the United States contain some lead-based paint that was applied before the residential use of lead-based paint was banned in 1978. “Housing units” include single-family homes, manufactured housing, and multi-unit dwellings like apartments. Vacant housing, group quarters (e.g., prisons, hospitals, and dormitories), hotels, motels, and other short-term housing, military bases, and housing where children are not permitted to live (e.g., housing designated exclusively for the elderly and those with zero-bedroom units) are not included in this number. More information on these statistics is available from HUD.

Question: What are some of the health effects of lead?

Answer:

Lead is known to 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 from exposure lead-based paint because they crawl on the floor and they put their hands and other items which can have lead-based paint dust on them into their mouths. Because their bodies are still growing, children tend to absorb more lead than adults.

Children exposed to lead can suffer from:

  • Lowered IQ
  • Damage to the brain and nervous system
  • Learning and behavioral difficulties
  • Slowed growth
  • Hearing problems
  • Headaches

Adults can suffer from:

  • Reproductive problems (in both men and women)
  • High blood pressure and hypertension
  • Nerve disorders
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Muscle and joint pain

To learn more about health effects of lead, visit http://www.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead.html#effects.

 

General Information about the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule

Question: What is the purpose of the RRP Rule?

Answer:

The purpose of the RRP Rule is to minimize exposure from lead-based paint dust during renovation, repair, or painting activities. This is a key effort in reducing the prevalence of childhood lead poisoning, particularly lead poisoning caused by housing contaminated by renovation activities. This will also minimize exposure to older children and adults who are also adversely impacted by lead-based paint dust exposure. Lead paint was used in more than 38 million homes prior to its ban for residential use in 1978. This paint can form toxic dust when it is disturbed during normal home repair work. EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) program is designed to reduce lead contamination by training contractors in relatively simple lead-safe work practices, and certifying contractors to make sure that they follow lead-safe work practices.  We also want consumers to choose firms that are certified.  Given that lead poisoning can cause a wide range of physical, intellectual, emotional, and behavioral issues with societal and financial impacts, this program is prevention-based, cost-effective, and a long-term bargain.

Question: What does the RRP Rule require?

Answer:

The RRP Rule requires that renovators are trained in the use of lead safe work practices, that renovators and firms be certified, that providers of renovation training be accredited, and that renovators follow specific work practice standards. Additional information on this rule can be found at http://www2.epa.gov/lead/renovation-repair-and-painting-program.

Question: Who is covered by the RRP Rule?

Answer:

The rule applies to all firms and individuals who are paid to perform renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb paint in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities. This includes home improvement contractors, maintenance workers, painters and other specialty trades.

Question: Is it a violation of the RRP Rule for a homeowner to hire a firm that is not certified?

Answer:

The RRP rule does not impose requirements on homeowners, unless they are performing renovations in rental space. However, the hired firm would be in violation of the RRP Rule if it was uncertified and performing a covered renovation.

 

Kevin C. Murphy is a member of the Wladis Law Firm, P.C., located in Syracuse, New York. Should you be confronted with lead paint or lead paint renovation issues, please feel free to contact Attorney Murphy or Attorney Timothy Lambrecht of the Wladis Law Firm to determine if we can be of assistance to you.

Picture:  www.ssiweb.com

Kevin Murphy

Kevin C. Murphy concentrates his practice in the areas of environmental compliance and litigation; environmental and white-collar criminal defense, and complex litigation matters. Mr. Murphy is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and a former senior trial attorney with both the Kings County (NY) District Attorney’s office and the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section in Washington, D.C. He previously taught a seminar on environmental criminal enforcement at the Syracuse University School of Law and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America.

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