Getting the lead out in Roanoke Virginia has a whole new meaning with the new EPA Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule. The rule's regulations took effect April 22 after years of drafting, litigation and "promulgation." The focus is work on structures built before a 1978 ban on lead paint. The goal is to protect children from lead disturbed during remodeling and renovation work.
In Roanoke, more than 86 percent of houses fit that description, according to Lead Safe Roanoke II. Many advocates celebrated the EPA rule as additional progress toward protecting vulnerable groups, especially children, from lead poisoning. But many regional contractors insist the lead standards go beyond what is necessary to safeguard homeowners, children and employees.
Among a host of other requirements, the standards detail meticulous procedures for preparation, hazardous material control, cleanup and disposal of lead paint dust and chips. The same standards can apply to water, soil and other materials that might have been contaminated during renovation or remodeling work. To gear up, contractors must buy lead testing kits, heavy plastic sheeting, heavy duty plastic bags, approved disposable respirators, approved disposable protective suits, HEPA vacuums and other materials.
Homeowners need to make sure that if their home was built before 1978 that any contractors performing renovations in their homes are trained and certified for lead paint disturbance or had at least one employee certified.