EPA rule addresses lead-based paint hazards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created a rule regarding Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) for contractors and renovators to follow. The rule addresses the hazards of lead dust and chips created by sanding, cutting, and renovating areas in housing and facilities containing lead-based paint.

Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the EPA created the requirement to regulate activities that disturb lead-based paint in "target housing," or homes built before 1978, and child-occupied facilities.

The rule requires that renovators, training renovators, and dust sampling technicians undergo training activities regarding proper handling of lead-based paint dust and chips. The requirements were founded on studies conducted in part on the amount of lead dust that was released from abrasive sanding paint removal, demolition of interior plaster walls, window replacement, carpet removal, HVAC renovations, and refurbishments that use drilling or sawing into wood and plaster.

The next phases of testing included studies conducted on worker blood-lead levels in relation to renovation and remodeling activities, a retrospective study based on the relationship between children's blood-lead levels and renovations and remodeling, and workers that specialized in historic building renovation and remodeling.

The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) states that lead overexposure is one of the most prevalent overexposures in industry, and is a leading cause of workplace illness. The agency has ranked lead overexposure as one of its highest priorities, and has developed a strategic plan to reduce the average severity of lead exposure by 15 percent over a five year period. OSHA addresses lead hazards and required personal safety products through several different standards and directives.

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