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Federal Lead-Based Paint Regulation Amendment Announced

April 20, 2022

Effective March 21, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a significant change to the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has withdrawn two Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that directly affect property management companies (PMCs) and their responsibilities under this regulation. The rule now requires that any hired contractors, as well as Property/Facility Managers, be trained, certified, and follow lead-safe work practices when conducting regulated renovations in houses, apartments, and child-occupied facilities built before 1978. This updated requirement will apply to PMCs regardless if they are outsourcing the project or performing the work in-house. In both circumstances, PMCs must now be certified under the RRP Rule.

 Does this affect you?

Any hired individuals that perform work/renovations on six square feet or more on indoor surfaces with lead-based paint, or more than twenty square feet on the exterior, are required to comply with the RRP Rule. Prior to this 2022 revision, this rule had already applied to any hired contractors, therefore, they will not be directly affected by this new amendment. According to the EPA in a notice in the Federal Register, “this announcement matters to you if you are a PMC, if you are employed by a PMC, if you live in target housing managed by a PMC, or if you work with PMCs on renovation, repair, or painting activities covered by the EPA’s RRP rule. Target housing includes residential dwellings constructed before 1978.”

Why should PMCs comply?

Failure to comply with the RRP Rule will result in fines around $37,000 per occurrence and in some cases, criminal penalties such as imprisonment. Each day that these rules are not followed is considered a separate occurrence. The EPA will target enforcement action against the property manager (PM) as well as any outside firms that have been hired to perform the renovations. It is extremely important to comply with the requirements of the RRP Rule as it protects people, especially children, from lead poisoning and the irreversible and hazardous health effects that come from it.

 What new responsibilities will PMCs take on?

 All PMCs renovating pre-1978 housing or child-occupied facilities are now required to obtain certifications under the RRP Rule. This new amendment continues to require anyone hired to perform renovations to be certified and trained in lead-safe work practices under the RRP Rule. Those performing the work, as well as PMCs, must provide property owners along with any housing/building occupants with the EPA Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Provider and Schools pamphlet which summarizes the requirements of the EPA’s RRP Rule and addresses all possible lead hazards. Proper lead-safe work and clean-up practices must be followed such as how to protect yourself and how to properly handle debris in and outside of the work area. Detailed documentation must be kept ensuring all workers, contractors, and PMCs follow the rules. These records must be readily available upon request to submit to the EPA or EPA-authorized state programs.

Why is this important?

Lead based paint was used in over 38 million homes before it was banned from use in residential housing in 1978. When a surface that contains lead-based paint is cracking, peeling, or is disturbed, lead based paint is extremely dangerous and can lead to several negative health effects if it is inhaled, consumed, and/or absorbed into the body. Children under the age of six are the most vulnerable and exposure can lead to irreversible damage. Some of these effects include lower IQs, learning disabilities, and behavioral issues. According to the EPA in The Truth about Lead Paint Poisoning brochure, many adults can also suffer from a range of issues such as high blood pressure, headaches, diminished motor skills, memory loss, and damage to the brain or other vital organs. Once any individual is poisoned, the damage cannot be undone, and the effects are permanent. New cases of lead poisoning continue to be diagnosed each year and, therefore, according to the EPA, it is imperative that all hired contractors and PMCs are held equally accountable in ensuring that all necessary precautions are followed. This recent RRP Rule amendment aims to increase the safety of those working with or living around lead-based paint and to limit the numbers of those exposed and affected.

 Training/Certifications

 As stated above, any contractor, worker, or property management companies (PMC) must be EPA certified if performing renovations in pre-1978 homes and child-occupied facilities. All Certified Firms, including PMCs, must now have Certified Renovators in-house. The EPA RRP initial training class meets that requirement. The course is eight-hours in length and includes presentations, videos, hands-on activities, and resource handouts. There will be a required examination provided at the end of the course; those earning a passing score on the exam will receive an EPA Certified Renovator Certification. Certifications expire every five years from the initial training course date, at which time a 4-hour Refresher Course is required for renewal.

 Topics in the training include:

  • Why you should be concerned about lead paint.
  • Regulations related to lead.
  • Setting up your work area.
  • Containing lead dust when working.
  • Cleaning up your work area.
  • Verifying that your work area is clean.
  • Training non-certified renovation workers.
  • Recordkeeping.

CleanHealth Services

CleanHealth has been a national training provider for this regulation since its inception in 2010. In addition, CleanHealth provides consulting services surrounding compliance with the RRP Rule, including internal audits and the creation of a RRP Compliance Program delineating all requirements, such as the necessary documentation and record-keeping protocols.

 We invite you to learn more about CleanHealth’s EPA Lead-Based Paint Certified Renovator (RRP): Initial and Refresher Training program. This is offered for individuals to receive the necessary and proper training to ensure the safety of themselves, fellow workers, and those involved with/around renovations in pre-1978 buildings that contain lead-based paint.

 If you have any questions, you can click here to schedule a customized consultation with Shari Solomon, President of CleanHealth Environmental.

By Rebecca Elias