Contractors and Builders

Lead Safety Information

EPA Lead Safety Rules

Beginning April 2010, federal law will require that contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 to be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.

A copy of EPA's lead hazard information pamphlet Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools (PDF) is available here:

As a contractor, you play an important role in protecting public health by helping prevent lead exposure. Ordinary renovation and maintenance activities can create dust that contains lead––even small amounts of lead can harm children and adults.

New Rules for Contractors

Beginning April 2010 contractors performing work that disturbs lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must:
• Be EPA certified, and
• Follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.

To learn more about how you can meet these requirements contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424­ LEAD (5323) or visit

What does this mean to you?

On April 22, 2008, EPA rule 40 CFR Part 745, Part II, Lead; Renovation, Repair and Painting; Lead Hazard Information Pamphlet; Notice of Availability; Final Rule was published in the Federal Register. Among other things, this rule requires that at least one (1) person in each organization that works on pre-1978 residential properties, child-care facilities or schools become a Certified Renovator by April 22, 2010. This person will need to be present during initial setup and final clean up and be available to return to the work site within two hours for any lead-based paint or lead hazard reduction activity. Lead based paint activity in the target properties includes but is not limited to any disturbance of lead-coated surfaces of 6 square feet or more inside, 20 or more square feet outside or any window or door replacement.

Understand that after April 22, 2010, federal law will require contractors, property management companies and others to be EPA certified and trained to use lead-safe work practices. To become certified, renovation contractors must submit an application and fee payment to EPA.

Be prepared for these new requirements. Adopt the following simple practices and you can work safely with lead.

You may also download this pamphlet (a PDF copy of EPA's Contractors: Lead Safety During Renovation) at:

Talk to the Residents

• Explain the steps you will take to protect residents from lead:
• Set up work areas that will not expose residents.
• Minimize the dust.
• Leave the work area clean.

When working in homes, child care facilities and schools built before 1978 you must provide the Renovate Right pamphlet to residents, or the facility operator before the job begins. You must also provide information to families whose children attend the child care facility or school.

Set Up Safe Work Areas

Select Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment

• Review the lead-safety shopping list contained in this pamphlet to determine what items you need to safely perform the work.
• Ensure your workers have appropriate eyewear, clothing, and respiratory protection for the job.

The Work Area Should Be Contained So That No Dust Or Debris Leaves the Work Area

What To Do Inside:

• Use signs to keep residents and pets out of the work area.
• Remove furniture and belongings, or cover them securely with heavy plastic sheeting.
• Use heavy plastic sheeting to cover floors and other fixed surfaces like large appliances in the work area.
• When appropriate, use heavy plastic sheeting to separate the work area from the rest of the residence.
• Close and seal vents in the work area and, if necessary, turn off forced-air heating and air conditioning systems.

What To Do Outside:

• Mark off the work area to keep non-workers away.
• Cover the ground and plants with heavy plastic sheeting.
• Close windows and doors near the work area.
• Move or cover play areas near the work area.

Minimize the Dust

You Should Use Work Practices That Minimize Dust:
• Mist areas before sanding, scraping, drilling, and cutting.
• Score paint before separating components.
• Pry and pull apart components instead of pounding and hammering.
• Always use a shroud with HEPA vacuum attachment when using power tools and equipment.

Do Not Use These Dangerous Practices When Working With Lead-Based Paint:
• Open flame burning or torching.
• Sanding, grinding, planing, needle gunning, or blasting with power tools unless equipped with a shroud and HEPA vacuum attachment.
• Using a heat gun at temperatures greater than 1100°F.

Leave the Work Area Clean

On a Daily Basis You Should:

• Put trash and debris in heavy-duty plastic bags.
• Wrap waste building components, such as windows and doors, in heavy plastic sheeting and tape shut.
• Ensure everything, including tools, equipment, and even workers, are free of dust and debris before leaving the work area.
• HEPA vacuum the work area.
• Wash up and change out of work clothes before you and your workers go home. Remember, you do not want to bring lead-based paint dust home and expose your family.
• Remind residents to stay out of the work area.

When the Job Is Complete, You Should Also:

• Remove the plastic sheeting carefully, mist with water, fold dirty side in, tape shut, and dispose of it.
• HEPA vacuum all surfaces, including walls.
• Wash the work area with a general purpose cleaner.
• Check your work carefully for lead dust because hazardous amounts may be minute and not easily visible. If you see any dust or debris, then re-clean the area.
• Perform a final clean-up check. Use disposable cleaning cloths to wipe
the floor of the work area and compare them to a cleaning verification
card to determine if the work area was adequately cleaned.
• To order a cleaning verification card and detailed instructions visit our website at or contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).

These Simple Practices Ensure That Your Jobs Are Better, Cleaner, And Safer. Your Customers Will Notice The Difference.

To learn more about working safely with lead and upcoming requirements, contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323) or visit EPA’s Web site at


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