Home remodelers have some complex new lead abatement rules to follow. The new federal rule requires contractors to take a course and follow new procedures to remove, and properly contain, any lead paint if that substance is to be disturbed in patches of six square feet or more in the interior of a building, or 20 square feet or more on an exterior surface.
Diane Ausavich, the President of the Milwaukee chapter of NARI – the National Association of the Remodeling Industry – says the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule spells out what has to be done in homes or businesses where young children or women who are pregnant may be present. “Not only do we have to set up the site, but then our employees who are working in that area have to have Tyvek suits and respirators,” Ausavich said.
Ausavich said while the goal of protecting kids from lead paint is laudable, contractors find themselves with a number of questions, mostly relating to enforcement. “Is it the building inspector who’s going to be looking at it? Is the homeowner, is it other contractors, who exactly is going to be monintoring these types of situations, and how is it going to be reported? That kind of stuff is still up in the air.”
Ausavich said neither the EPA or the state Department of Health Services have provided much information for contractors, whose employees have to had to take a special eight-hour certification course to learn how to follow the new procedures.