Is Your Local Painting Contractor Lead-Safe Certified?
Beginning in April 2010, the EPA began enforcing strict guidelines for renovators and painting contractors doing work on homes built before 1978. This is when lead-based paints became outlawed, meaning any home built before 1978 could have lead-based paint. Even if your house has been painted since 1978 (hopefully it has) lead paint could still be in the underlying layers of paint. Many homes in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis and the surround areas are older homes so it is especially important to understand these laws when hiring a painting contractor.
Why does the law matter?
Lead dust poses many health risks, most significantly to children and pregnant women. Lead paint can severely damage the brain and nervous system and the damage can be irreversible. Even if you don’t have children in your home, you should be concerned about lead exposure because it can cause high blood pressure, fertility problems and nerve disorders (among other not so fun things).
Does your painting contractor care about the EPA Lead Paint law?
Companies doing renovation (i.e. painting) work on homes built pre-1978 must be certified by the EPA. Also, a certified Renovator must oversee the scope of your project. The sales person providing you with an estimate should be able to provide you with a copy of the company’s EPA Certification. You should also ensure that a certified renovator is in charge of the job and ask for a copy of their certificate.
What should you expect?
If you are speaking with a painting contractor and they are telling you that the EPA law is not important or they don’t seem to take it very seriously, you should be concerned. The EPA law is not optional. If your home was built before 1978, you need to ensure that the contractor is going to do a lead test before commencing work. If there is lead present on your home, you should expect to spend a little more than if your home is ‘lead-free’. There are significant costs associated with following the new laws, such as personal protection equipment, plastic sheeting to ensure no paint chips are left behind and materials to block off the area being worked on. Depending on the size of your home and the scope of the project you should expect to spend an additional $50-$300 or so if lead paint is present.
Of course Textbook Painting is lead certified. We ensure that our managers are knowledgeable about the law and each manager attends an EPA certification class. We take the law and health concerns seriously and we hope all painting contractors do. Unfortunately, as with most laws, there are people and companies who do not believe the law is important or that it applies to them. It is and it does! No matter who you choose to paint your home, make sure they care enough about the health and safety of your family to understand and follow the EPA Lead Safety laws.