EPA regulations now mandate that any contractor or maintenance staff, from plumbers to electricians to painters, who disturbs more than six square feet of lead paint, replaces windows or does any demolition while working in a pre-1978 home, school or day-care center, must now be Lead-Safe Certified and trained in lead-safe work practices.

Lead paint:

Bad in schools, hospitals, apartments or anywhere children may be present.

Many contractors and maintenance workers who have been on the job for years believe they know all about the dangers of and the precautions necessary for working with lead paint. Others think lead paint poisoning simply went away years ago. It didn’t.

That’s why you need to know the facts about lead paint and how disturbing it poses serious health risks to the people in your building, especially children.

If your pre-1978 hospital, child-care facility, school or extended-stay hotel suite is being renovated, repaired or painted, this pamphlet is for you. In it, you’ll learn about the dangers of lead paint, how to hire a Lead-Safe Certified contractor, and how to make sure your own maintenance staff is doing the right thing.

Where does the lead danger come from today?

In earlier decades, the fear of children eating lead paint chips was the main concern when it came to poisoning. But since then, research has shown that the most common way to get lead in the body is from inhaling or ingesting microscopic dust.

Renovation creates this dust. Common renovation activities, like sanding, cutting and demolition, can create hazardous lead dust and chips. Proper work practices can protect the people in your building, especially children, from this dust.

Even for small jobs, the key is to use lead-safe work practices such as containing dust inside the work area, using dustminimizing work methods and conducting a careful cleanup.

It also means keeping people out of the work area. Most important, it means making sure that anyone who does work in your building is Lead-Safe Certified.

How do I choose the right contractor?

As a property manager or person in the position of authority to choose who renovates your hospital, child-care facility, school, or apartment, it is your responsibility to choose a contractor who is Lead-Safe Certified.

Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Ask if the contractor is trained to perform lead-safe work practices and ask to see a copy of their EPA training certificate.
  • Make sure your contractor can explain clearly the details of the job and how the firm will minimize lead hazards during the work process.
  • Ask what lead-safe methods will be used to set up and perform the job in your hospital, child-care facility, school or apartment.
  • Ask for references from at least three recent jobs involving buildings built before 1978, and speak to each personally.
  • Always make sure the contract is clear about how the work will be set up, performed and cleaned.

You can verify that a contractor is certified by checking the EPA website at www.epa.gov/getleadsafe or by calling the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).

You can also ask to see a copy of the contractor’s firm certification.

Does my staff have to be lead-safe certified?

Federal law requires that if you or someone on your staff is performing the work your firm must be Lead-Safe Certified and your staff trained in lead-safe work practices. If not, you could face tens of thousands of dollars in fines. Plus, you put the health of yourself, your workers, and your customers

at risk, which could result in lawsuits.

These work practices include:

  • Containing the work area.
  • Avoiding renovation methods that generate large amounts of lead-contaminated dust.
  • Cleaning up thoroughly.

Getting your lead-safe certification.

To become certified, individuals must attend a full-day Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule Course. The price for this course is set by private trainers accredited by the EPA. To find an accredited trainer near you, visit www.epa.gov/getleadsafe or call 1-800-424-LEAD.

  • Your firm also needs to register with the EPA and pay $300 to receive official certification.
  • To help you through this new regulation, there is a wealth of downloadable support information on our website,

The truth about lead paint poisoning.

Lead paint is an invisible danger. Here are some facts about lead paint poisoning that everyone should know:

  • A million kids are affected by lead paint poisoning with some level of irreversible damage, such as lower intelligence, learning disabilities and behavioral issues.
  • New cases of childhood lead paint poisoning are diagnosed every year. Many more could go unreported.
  • Recent research shows that new cases can be directly linked to renovations where the work environment was inadequately contained.
  • Adults exposed to lead paint can suffer from high blood pressure, headaches, dizziness, diminished motor skills, fatigue and memory loss. Even small levels of exposure to lead paint can harm adults.
  • It’s not just lead paint chips that poison. Contamination can be caused by only a little bit of lead dust that is easily absorbed by anyone who inhales or ingests it.
  • Once poisoned, it’s for life and can never be reversed.