What exactly is the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule? Well, in a nutshell
it applies primarily to contractors (and concerned homeowners) performing renovations, repairs and painting on homes built prior to 1978 when lead based paint was banned due to harmful effects to children and adults. For more detailed info please visit the official EPA website.
If you're old enough perhaps you'll remember seeing a TV commercial in the late 1970's early 1980's featuring a small child about to ingest chips of paint. Just how dangerous is lead poisoning especially to young children? Take a look at this video, then you decide.
Of course the first line of defense for protecting your family is to determine the actual presence of lead either on exterior or interior surfaces. Some homes even older than 1978 that have previously been renovated may already have addressed this issue. Still, the presence of lead cannot be determined through visual inspection. A homeowner can take the initial step by purchasing a DIY lead test kit such as 3M LeadCheck (Amazon) and follow instructions carefully. A note of caution however; these kits are not 100% failsafe and shouldn't be relied upon as being completely accurate. The best method of testing is to have a Certified Lead Inspector or Renovator send off a paint chip for complete analysis. You'll be notified as soon as possible of the results.
What are your options if lead is present? One, as a homeowner you could ignore the whole thing, especially if there are no small children living in the house AND if the existing coatings are stable and in tact with no signs of deteriorating paint. As a contractor hired to perform work on your home that option doesn't exist. Well, it does but it comes at a premium EPA fine of as much as $38,000 plus for a non-RRP Certified Firm should the contractor be caught. A second option as a homeowner is to take care of the problem yourself. The RRP Rule does not apply to individuals performing work on their own homes. However any homeowner attempting to take on such a daunting task should be completely familiar with the proper procedures that a certified firm would have to take to ensure health and safety for yourself, and your family including pets. The third option is to hire an RRP Certified Firm. This option is obviously more costly, time consuming and can frankly be inconvenient especially for interior renovations since families with small children cannot remain in the home while work is being performed. The benefits however is a much more professional job that includes not only the renovation, repair or painting itself but also a complete and thorough cleaning that is initially inspected buy a Certified Lead Renovator but has to also be inspected and cleared by a Certified Lead Inspector before the project is approved for occupancy. Clearly the safer choice for family health.
To find a Certified Firm in your area go the the EPA website, click on your state and then check for the nearest contractor. And, if you live in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area and you're reading this blog, you're already at the website of a Certified RRP Firm.