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New EPA Rule to Protect Children from Lead Poisoning

Release Date: 6/1/1999
Contact Information: Ruth Podems, (215) 814-5540

PHILADELPHIA -- A new EPA rule requiring that homeowners and renters be notified of the dangers of lead paint dust and debris during renovations goes into effect today.

This new regulation, the Lead Pre-Renovation Education Rule, requires painters, contractors, carpenters, property-management companies and others involved in remodeling or renovation of pre-1978 housing to notify homeowners and renters of the dangers of dust and debris from lead paint uncovered during this kind of work. Paint containing lead was banned from use after 1978.

The Lead Pre-Renovation Rule requires anyone performing renovation for compensation to distribute the pamphlet entitled, Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home to their customers. The rule also requires contractors to tell residents of the start and end dates of renovation and the nature of the work being done, and to obtain written acknowledgment that notification was made. This rule applies if more than two square feet of paint is being disturbed.

During the first year following the effective date, EPA will focus on compliance assistance to ensure that both the public and the regulated community have information on the new requirements which will assist them in complying with the law. However, during this time, the EPA will enforce against violations which put the public at risk.

Lead-based paint can be on walls, ceilings, woodwork, windows, and sometimes floors. When lead-based paint on these surfaces is broken, sanded, or scraped, it breaks into tiny, sometimes invisible pieces that children can swallow or inhale. Even small repair and renovation jobs, including repainting projects, can create enough lead dust and chips to harm children.

Lead poisoning is a silent disease that can cause serious health consequences for children because of its detrimental effects on both physical and mental development. Nearly one million children in the country have dangerous levels of lead in their bloodstream.

For copies of the Federal pamphlet, Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home, the Federal Rule, or information on the hazards of lead paint, call 1-800-424-LEAD or via the Internet at: