Less than a month remains for contractors to comply with sweeping new lead-safe rules or face fines of up to $37,500.
Like many state and federal authorities and associations, the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is reminding licensees about the rules that roll out April 22.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) requirements apply to those working on remodeling projects in homes, childcare facilities, and schools built before 1978, all of which are presumed to have lead-based paint. Although the lead-based paint may have been covered by non-toxic paints in subsequent years, remodeling or demolition will disturb the lead paint underneath, potentially harming workers and consumers.
For example, the amount of lead dust that can cover a three-by-five-inch card can poison a 1,500-square-foot house or apartment, and cause it to fail a lead safety inspection, the CSLB said.
Contractors conducting renovation activities in pre-1978 buildings must receive training from a U.S. EPA-accredited training provider. Contractors or their employees with lead safety certification from the California Department of Public Health (DPH) may take a four-hour U.S. EPA-accredited course to achieve federal compliance. At least one person in a firm must be trained and certified in renovation. That firm must then apply to U.S. EPA for firm certification.
The requirements apply to all contractors—not just painters--who disturb lead-based paint in a six-square-foot area or greater indoors, and a 20-square-foot area outdoors.
In California, if a state-certified inspector or risk assessor determines that a home constructed before 1978 is lead-free, federal certification is not required for anyone working on that particular building.
Renovator firm certification costs $300 and lasts for five years. Certification forms and lists of accredited training providers are available at www.epa.gov/lead or by calling 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).