The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency expects more than 125,000 contractors to be trained in lead-safe work practices by the mandated deadline of April 22, the agency says.
Despite last-minute challenges by some trade associations and retailers, the agency is on target to implement its “Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule,” which will protect millions of children from lead poisoning, an EPA official said Thursday, two weeks before the rule takes effect.
“There has been tremendous progress by people working in the construction and remodeling trades to become trained in lead-safe work practices,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances.
“EPA has been working hard to get the word out far and wide to contractors working in older homes, schools and day-care centers that this training is available to help stop lead poisoning in children. All a contractor needs to do to be certified is take a simple one-day course.”
Despite nearly 30 years of effort to reduce childhood lead exposures, a million American children are still poisoned by lead paint each year, putting them at risk for a wide range of health impacts, including lowered IQ and behavioral disorders. Some of that poisoning is a result of dust contaminated by old lead paint that is stirred up during remodeling activities. There are simple steps contractors can take during renovations to minimize exposures to lead paint.
To ensure contractors were following such procedures, the EPA finalized the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (LRRP) rule in 2008. The rule requires contractors to become trained and certified as lead-safe by EPA. Individuals take an eight-hour training course offered by private training providers to become a Certified renovator. The certification is valid for five years.
To date, EPA has certified 190 training providers who have conducted more than 4,900 courses. An estimated 100,000 people in the construction and remodeling industries have been trained in lead-safe work practices. Based on current estimates, EPA expects more than 125,000 contractors to be certified by the April 22 deadline.
EPA is running a number of efforts to expedite the training and certification process. These include print and radio campaigns to highlight the benefits of hiring lead-safe certified firms. As a result, it is expected that training capacity will continue to increase significantly as the April 22 deadline approaches.
EPA also expects many more contractors and renovators to seek training after the deadline.
To locate local EPA-accredited RRP training providers using EPA’s search tool, visit http://cfpub.epa.gov/flpp/searchrrp_training.htm. For information on firm certification, visit http//:www.epa.gov/getleadsafe.