EPA lead paint requirements affecting contractors

by WOHe

Dothan, AL — January 20, 2011 — Environmental Protection Agency rules that took effect last year are now having a costly impact on contractors across the state.

In 2008, the EPA issued the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule dictating the protocol for all renovations and construction on homes with lead-based paint. That rule took effect last April.

However, the EPA decided last year to pass enforcement on to states. Now the Alabama Department of Public Health is in charge of enforcing the stringent rule, which is designed to protect homeowners and the contractors from the dangerous effects of lead paint.

Tommy Tolleson, co-owner of Tolleson Construction in Dothan, became certified when the rule took effect last year.

In addition to the cost of buying new equipment and supplies, Tolleson said his company, which deals with many houses pre-dating 1978, must pay the cost of any training.

“We have to buy this special testing kit to do that, so there’s definitely a cost,” Tolleson said. “It will certainly add expenses to the jobs. I’m trained, so I’m the one that has to do any and all of the testing, so I have to go physically on the site. It’s not something I can tell somebody to do. That’s certainly an expense to me. If I’m replacing one window on a 1978 house that has lead-based paint, I have to go out there and inspect every step. It doesn’t seem real feasible for me to sit on a job site all day. My next step is, even if I have to pay for it, to get one of my painters to get that certification so he can help me obey the law. I don’t want to not do what’s right, but it’s strenuous for sure.”

While he didn’t criticize the rule, he said he hasn’t encountered any problems with lead paint during his construction career.


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