Reducing Exposure to Lead Paint
In May of 2018, The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) New England office announced that they would be focusing efforts in June and July of this year to help lessen children’s exposure to lead paint in areas in and around Portland, Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This involves the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule which came into effect in April of 2010. Home renovation and painting contractors, property management companies, and landlords will be most affected.
First and foremost, the purpose of the EPA’s effort is to reduce children’s exposure to lead paint. Youngsters are at the most risk to suffer from developmental impairments, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity, and behavioral problems because of exposure to lead. As well, the EPA is looking to educate those working with lead paint on how to deal with it safely. If lead paint will be disturbed at a target working site, the RRP Rule requires that the workers complete an initial 8-hour accredited training course and that the company they work for is EPA certified. The EPA is also interested in leveling the playing field for those who are already spending time and money to comply.
Many buildings and homes in the seacoast area of Maine and New Hampshire were built before lead paint was banned in 1978 and have never been renovated, nor has existing lead paint been removed. This area of focus is part of a series of place-based efforts to reduce exposure to lead throughout the EPA’s New England region. Similar initiatives took place in the last few years in New Haven, Conn; Nashua, NH; and the Lewiston/Auburn area of Maine.
The EPA is collaborating with local, state, and federal agencies; including entities related to municipal departments, housing and development, occupational safety and health, and health and environment departments. Educational materials and an outline of the EPA’s plan to increase compliance with the RRP Rule have been provided to over 400 contractors and companies. Now, the EPA is conducting inspections to investigate compliance with the RRP Rule and it’s possible that fines may be levied.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is another, related entity of interest because it regulates worker exposure to lead at all construction work sites, not just RRP Rule target sites. Employers are responsible for providing a program that protects workers from specified levels of lead. This involves determining the hazard present, engineering and work process controls, employee training, the provision of protective clothing and respirators, medical check-ups, and other measures.
RPF Environmental, Inc. provides trusted and reliable services to screen for lead in paint; if you believe that there is a danger of lead paint at your worksite, in your business, or in your home, contact them today to speak with a lead paint expert about scheduling a survey. If you need RRP Rule training, RPF Environmental, Inc. provides EPA approved Lead RRP courses and RRP Refresher training. Services are also available to assist anyone concerned about OSHA Lead in Construction compliance. Give them a call at 1-888-SAFE-AIR (1-888-723-3247) or check them out online at www.airpf.com.
With offices in Northwood, NH; Portland, ME; and Amesbury, MA; and with over 25 years of expertise, RPF Environmental, Inc. provides services throughout New England. This includes indoor air quality assessments, asbestos and other hazardous material testing, mold assessments, construction safety, OSHA and EPA regulatory compliance services, industrial hygiene investigations, and site inspections for lead-based paint, silica, and other environmental hazards. In addition, RPF Environmental’s professional development group provides corporate health and safety training programs for clients throughout New England.
For further information about OSHA’s Lead in Construction regulation, refer to https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3142.pdf.