Homes that have been built before 1978 have a higher chance of containing lead, commonly in the form of either lead paint or lead contaminated dust. Least poisoning is a serious threat, and millions of home still containing the toxic substance under newer coats of paint. Much like asbestos, lead isn't usually a threat until it is disturbed by remodeling or other construction, and with time and damage, it can contaminate your environment. Even minor damage, including peeling, or water damage, can be a cause for serious concern, which is why the EPA began to require specific actions from contractors if lead has been detected.
When we talk about abatement, it’s just another way of describing the removal of lead-based paint and lead contaminated dust. EPA regulations on lead based paint apply to many different aspects of contracting and construction, including:
l Risk assessment. (what is the likelihood there is lead contamination)
l Inspection, (where lead elements are chemically detected).
l Project design. (what is need to ensure safety and health)
l The Abatement Process. (removal of all lead contamination safely)
Proper abatement can't begin until lead has actually been detected. Remember that the federal laws, and regulation by the Federal EPA, only extend to Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Wyoming, New York, New Mexico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nevada, and Arizona. If your state is not on this list, then there will be a state-run program for lead paint that has been authorized by the Federal EPA.
l The EPA must be notified 5 days prior to conducting lead based activities with the exception of emergency abatement orders or Elevated Blood Lead Level determinations. Changes in scheduling, cancellations, and other events required for reporting as well. All affected parties within the building must be notified
l Certification is required for abatement. Contracting firms must apply specifically to be an Abatement or Evaluation firm to provide removal and inspection services respectively. If you require lead abatement from a contractor, and they are not certified, then you are not only taking a huge risk with your health and your building, but you may also be vulnerable to fines and other penalties, as is the contractor.
l Technicians and staff on the project require certification as well for any and all activities related to lead-based paint. This means that anyone working for the contractor firm – directly involved in the abatement – must be certified to perform the work.
l Reports include the start time of abatement, expected end time, type of building, certification information, name of firm, address of property, documentation of EBL level, specifications on how much of an area has been abated, a report of the abatement, and signatures of both supervisors and representatives from a certified firm.
For contractors, the EPA features every document type, including pre-abatement notification and certification applications, on its website, which can be found at this address. For more information as a building owner, or to get in contact with a certified lead abatement firm, there is more information on the EPA's website, or with your own state's lead paint program management agency. Reset Restoration is a Lead Certified Firm.
Author: Dick Wagner, restoration consultant, commercial marketing coach, lead abatement, restoration contractor