SURPRISE! There’s A New Lead Paint Law

SURPRISE! There’s A New Lead Paint Law

In less than an hour, the EPA’s new RRP law officially goes into effect.

RRP stands for Renovation, Repair and Painting, and sets pretty stringent guidelines for lead containment by contractors who work on homes built before 1978, when lead was a common ingredient in paint.

Michael Murphy, Directory of New Project Development for Murphy Brothers Contracting in Mamaroneck explains that any contractors who perform work that could disturb old lead paint , like painters, carpenters, HVAC installers, as well as professionals who indirectly refer them-like decorators and architects, are all responsible for compliance, with some pretty hefty fines, up to $32K per violation, per day.

Lead from old paint can be absorbed several ways…most of us remember hearing about young children eating paint chips that have peeled away from old walls. Those chips were appealing not because of the child’s hunger, but because they had an unfortunately sweet taste.  Children younger than 3 have an especially vulnerable system, and ingestion of lead was found to cause serious  and permanent damage, primarily to the brain and nervous system. That’s why real estate transactions-even rentals-require a lead paint disclosure form.

It’s since been found that adults, and even pets -who’ve been exposed to lead particles in dust that is released when a surface that’s been painted with lead paint is cut, or otherwise disturbed- have developed some of the same conditions and ailments children who’ve eaten paint chips.

It seems to be a fair observation that this law has kind of snuck up on a lot of people, but nevertheless, it is still about to become law, and compliance is expected. Contractors must take an 8 hour course to become certified, use specific equipment, and present the homeowner with a booklet explaining the process, which the homeowner must sign a receipt for, saying they received it. Last fall, Murphy Brothers became one of the first contractors  in the area to become certified in this process, but it remains to be seen how-and how quickly-the others can be accommodated.

Here in Westchester, where so many homes are built before 1978, this law will be a very big deal; whether you are a homeowner or a contractor, know the law and protect yourself, you can download the  pamphlet,