Question: I have heard that only certain companies are certified to do work on homes built before 1978. Can you tell me what this is all about?
Answer: Due to recent legislation, any contractor who will be renovating, repairing or painting a home built before 1978 must be certified to do the work. Homes that were built before 1978 may have lead in the paint. Here are some facts about lead as displayed in the EPA’s Renovate Right pamphlet which your contractor is required to give you if your home was built prior to 1978:
- Lead can affect children’s brains and developing nervous systems, causing reduced IQ, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems. Lead is also harmful to adults.
- Lead in dust is the most common way people are exposed to lead. People can also get lead in their bodies from lead in soil or paint chips. Lead dust is often invisible.
- Lead-based paint was used in more than 38 million homes until it was banned for residential use in 1978.
- Projects that disturb lead-based paint can create dust and endanger you and your family. Don’t let this happen to you. Follow the practices described in this pamphlet.
To download the complete pamphlet, go to http://www.hud.gov/offices/lead/library/lead/renovaterightbrochure.pdf. It gives more information about the dangers of lead and how to avoid them.
If this applies to your home, it is important to verify that you contractor has been certified as a Lead-Safe Certified Firm by the EPA.