New Lead Paint Rules to Take Effect

Effective April 22, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be implementing stringent new rules regarding <"">lead paint, said The mandates affect the way in which contractors will handle lead paint in older homes, which is expected to impact thousands of construction-trade workers in the New Orleans area, said The rule’s goal is to decrease children’s likelihood of lead exposure and poisoning when home renovation or repair work is conducted, said

We have long been writing about the dangers of lead exposure on the general population and, most especially to children. Lead poisoning is considered the greatest environmental health threat to children under the age of six, a very serious issue given that these children face the greatest risks since their growing bodies absorb lead easier than adult bodies.

According to, the rule should have a strong impact in New Orleans because most of the so-called “housing stock” was built when paints were leaded. The regulations, known as the 2008 Lead Renovation Repair and Painting rule, is structured to help minimize lead dust when home renovations occur and also mandates more stringent practices due to the stricter penalties over the largely ignored 2001 city ordinance which set out to accomplish the same purpose in that area, said

Under the rule, remodelers, painters, plumbers and tradesmen, said must receive EPA-certified training in lead-safe practices and also mandates that—no matter the size of the job—a lead-trained firm must handle work that could potentially disturb lead in painted surfaces. The rule affects any renovation handled by a nonhomeowner and that disturbs six square feet of interior or 20 square feet of exterior paint, said Homeowners are urged by the EPA to look on its Website for how to handle paint dust in older homes where lead is likely involved.

The fine is $37,500 per violation, per day—to contractors, not homeowners—said “It’s going to be really big,” said Jon Luther, executive director of the Home Builders Association of Greater New Orleans, quoted The group has been providing classes in collaboration with the LSU AgCenter and the National Center for Healthy Housing. “It’s going to require some real expertise, some continuing education and training,” added Luther. noted that even very small amounts of lead dust can taint very large areas; clean up and removal of lead is a long and difficult process.

A known neurotoxin, lead exposure can cause brain and nervous system damage in children and fetuses, behavioral and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, headaches, mental and physical retardation, and behavioral and other health problems. Of particular concern is the developing brain because negative influences can have long-lasting effects and can continue well into puberty and beyond. Lead is known to cause cancer and reproductive harm and, in adults, can damage the nervous system. In high doses, lead poisoning can cause seizure, coma, and death.

Once poisoned by lead, no organ system is immune; experts agree that there is no safe level of lead.

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