ATLANTA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it expects more than 125,000 renovation and remodeling contractors to be trained in lead-safe work practices by April 22, the effective date for a rule requiring such training.

The agency is on target to implement the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (LLPR)on April 22, 2010, which it said will protect millions of children from lead poisoning. Anyone receiving compensation for renovating, repairing and painting work in residences built before 1978 that disturbs painted surfaces is subject to the new RRP. Also affected by the RRP are those performing similar work on facilities occupied by children under six years of age, such as schools and day-care centers built prior to 1978.

“This rule strengthens EPA’s goal to protect children from exposure to lead-based paint,” said Acting Regional Administrator Stan Meiburg. “To be certified a contractor needs to take a simple one-day course. Beginning April 22, 2010, consumers should ask for proof of certification before work begins.”

To ensure contractors were following the required procedures, the EPA finalized the LRRP rule in 2008. The rule requires contractors to become trained and certified as lead-safe by EPA. Individuals take an eight-hour training course offered by private training providers to become a certified renovator. The certification is valid for five years.

To date, EPA said it has certified 184 training providers who have conducted more than 4,900 courses. An estimated 100,000 people in the construction and remodeling industries have been trained in lead-safe work practices. Based on current estimates, EPA said it expects more than 125,000 contractors to be certified by the April 22 deadline.

EPA said it has a number of efforts under way to expedite the training and certification process. Included are a print and radio campaign to highlight the benefits of hiring lead-safe certified firms. As a result, it is expected that training capacity will continue to increase significantly as the April 22 deadline approaches. It is likely that many more contractors and renovators will seek and obtain training after the deadline, the agency said.

To located EPA-accredit RRP training providers, click here.

For information on firm certification, click here.
 
Several industry groups, including the National Association of Home Builders and the Window & Door Dealers Alliance, have requested an extension of the rule. Read story.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.