Lead: Renovation, Repair & Painting
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule requires contractors performing a renovation on homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 to be certified and use specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
In Oregon, these rules are jointly administered and enforced by the Construction Contractors Board (CCB) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Lead-Based Paint Program. CCB manages the program for all licensed contractors.
In general, the older the dwelling, the more likely it will have lead-based paint. Lead-based paint wasn’t restricted to residential use until 1978. Working with lead-based paint can be hazardous and difficult.
The Lead-Based Paint Program recommends using a certified professional to remove lead-based paint and for demolition work. Whenever lead-based paint is disturbed, a hazard is likely to result. There are special work practices that can reduce lead-based paint hazards during these projects.
Working With a Professional
The Oregon Lead-Based Paint Program certifies professionals who inspect homes for the presence of lead-based paint and others who can identify or remove lead paint hazards.
If you choose to hire someone to do the work, be sure you are dealing with someone who will use lead-safe work practices and who is registered with the Construction Contractors Board. The following resources will help you:
- Construction Contractors Board - list of Lead Safe Contractors.
- Oregon Health Authority - list of certified abatement companies to identify abatement professionals that test or work on individual residential properties.
- Questions to Ask to Find A Lead-Safe Contractor (PDF) Opens a New Window. .
Prohibited Work Practices
- Do not power blast, dry scrape, or dry sand because these practices create lead dust.
- Do not power wash unless you are prepared to trap all of the wastewater and paint chips and dispose of them properly.
- Do not use heat guns above 750 degrees F. Do not use open-flame torching to remove paint. When lead becomes hot enough it evaporates and creates toxic lead fumes.
- Do not use chemical paint strippers that contain methyl chloride. Be sure to ventilate.
- Do not smoke, eat or drink in the work area.
Safe Work Practices
- Do wet sand or wet scrape with a hand scraper or wire brush. Mist the surface with water or use a non-flammable solvent or abrasive compound.
- Do exterior work on calm days.
- Do wear personal protective clothing and equipment, such as eye protection, rubber gloves, and a respirator.
- Do spread plastic sheets or tarps to cover the ground and trap debris.
- Do seal off heating ducts so that lead dust isn’t spread to other rooms.
- Do keep children and pregnant women away from the work area.
- Do work in one room at a time and seal it off from other living areas with plastic sheeting.
- Clean as you go: each day, be careful to mist debris with water and sweep it into double plastic bags, then wet-dust and wet-mop all surfaces. Use a 2-bucket method.
- Use a general all-purpose cleaning product or a special lead cleaner.
- Household and shop vacuums can’t trap lead dust. You must use a HEPA-equipped vacuum for this purpose.
- Remove coveralls before leaving the work area. Wash work clothes separately. Don’t track lead debris on work shoes. Shower promptly.
- Collect paint chips. Double-bag the waste or wrap it in newspaper, and dispose of it in the trash.
- Don’t dump waste water on the ground. Water should be filtered before disposing of it in the toilet. Filtered debris can be double-bagged and put in the trash.
- Never burn lead debris.
- Call your garbage service to find out how to dispose of large pieces of wall, woodwork, etc.
Training Offered For Lead Based Paint Renovations
The Homebuilders Association of Josephine County hosts training to certify renovators who work with pre-1978 built homes on lead-based paint removal. Please check the Homebuilders Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Courses website for upcoming classes.
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