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12:20 AM Tue, Dec. 11th

Ask the Contractor: Lead paint mitigation necessary when renovating older homes

Are you planning to buy, rent or renovate a home built before 1978? Many houses and apartments built before 1978 have paint that contains high levels of lead. Lead from paint, chips and dust can pose serious health hazards if not taken care of properly.

Q: We are planning to renovate our historic home in Prescott. We met with two contractors; one informed us he was a certified and trained to follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination, which we would have to follow on the renovation, and the other contractor did not know anything about being lead-certified and said it did not matter with the renovation. Please inform us what we are suppose to do.-Mark and Sherry, Prescott

A: The federal government banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978. As of April 22, 2010, the federal law required that contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb more than six square feet of paint in homes, child care facilities and schools built before 1978 must be certified and trained to follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.

This rule generally does not apply to minor maintenance or repair activities in which less than six square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed in a room, or less than 20 square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed on the exterior. But this does not include window replacement, demolition, or prohibited practices.

Contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects who have been certified by the EPA are designated as Certified EPA Renovators. They earned this designation by taking an eight-hour training course from an EPA-approved training provider.

Contractors must use lead-safe work practices; contain the work area, minimize dust and clean up thoroughly; and provide the owner with a copy of the EPA's lead hazard information pamphlet.

Federal law requires renovation firms to be certified and requires individuals working for the firm to be trained in the use of lead-safe work practices. As a homeowner, you should be provided with a copy of the EPA training certificate from the contractor.

The contractor must inform you of what lead-safe methods will be used to perform the job, and you must be given results of the lead tests.

The law also requires that individuals receive certain information before renting or buying a pre-1978 home. Landlords must disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before leases take effect. Leases must include a disclosure form about lead-based paint. Sellers must disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before selling a house. Sales contracts must include a disclosure form about lead-based paint. Buyers have up to 10 days to check for lead hazards.

You can get your home checked in one of two ways. A paint inspection tells you the lead content of every different type of painted surface in the home. A risk assessment will tell you if there are any sources of serious lead exposure and what actions to take to address these hazards.

Have qualified professionals do the work. There are standards in place and reliable certified contractors are available to help. Home test kits are available, but studies suggest they are not always accurate. Consumers should not reply on these test kits before doing renovations. YCCA has several certified members that are trained in lead-paint removal. Contact us at 778-0040 or ycca@cableone.net for a list.

Yavapai County Contractors Association (YCCA) is a professional association representing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, suppliers, distributors and business entities. Submit questions to ycca@cableone.net or through www.ycca.org.