Keep Up with Lead Hazard Requirements

Both HUD and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have taken steps to require the use of practices that minimize lead hazards when you undertake renovation, repair, or painting projects at your site. In general, the requirements work together, but there are some differences.

Both HUD and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have taken steps to require the use of practices that minimize lead hazards when you undertake renovation, repair, or painting projects at your site. In general, the requirements work together, but there are some differences.

In April 2008, the EPA issued the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule requiring lead-safe practices. The rule said that, beginning in April 2010, contractors engaging in renovation, repair, or painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 (the year lead-based paint was banned nationwide for consumer use) must be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.

The EPA rule, issued under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), applies to “target housing and child-occupied facilities.” Target housing is defined under TSCA as any housing constructed before 1978, except housing for the elderly or persons with disabilities, unless any child under the age of 6 “resides or is expected to reside in such housing.”

The EPA provides further definition of what it means by a “child-occupied facility.” This is a building or a portion of a building, built before 1978, that is “visited regularly by the same child, under 6 years of age, on at least two different days within any week (Sunday through Saturday period).” Duration of the visits is defined by the EPA, as well; the rule applies “provided each day's visit lasts at least 3 hours and the combined weekly visits last at least 6 hours, and the combined annual visits last at least 60 hours.”

HUD's Lead Safe Housing Rule (LSHR) generally applies to work performed in target housing units receiving HUD housing assistance, such as rehabilitation or acquisition assistance. Specific requirements depend on the amount of HUD assistance the project is receiving. (See “Is Your Site Covered By LSHR?” in the box below.)

Rules Work Together, with Some Differences

The HUD and EPA rules work together. In general, both rules say that contractors should follow three simple procedures:

1. Contain the work area.

2. Minimize dust.

3. Clean up thoroughly.

However, a major difference is that the LSHR requires clearance examinations. At the end of the job, HUD requires a clearance examination to be done by an independent party instead of the certified renovator's cleaning verification procedure. The EPA allows cleaning verification by the renovator or clearance examination. The cleaning verification does not involve sampling and laboratory analysis of the dust.

HUD requires that the site's “designated party” (owner or management agent) distribute notices to occupants within 15 days after lead hazard evaluation and control activities in their unit, and in common areas if applicable. The EPA has no requirement to notify residents who are not the owners after the renovation is complete.

HUD does not certify renovators or firms, but requires that all workers and supervisors must complete a HUD-approved curriculum in lead safe work practices. Noncertified renovation workers need only on-the job training as long as they are supervised by a certified renovator who is trained in lead-based paint abatement.

The EPA does certify renovation firms and requires that the training providers who do certification be accredited. Only the certified renovator is required to have classroom training. Workers must receive on-the-job training from the certified renovator.

Protect and Be Practical

Bernard Morosco often gets questions about the EPA rule and HUD's requirements related to lead hazard control. Morosco is a housing inspection consultant, trainer, and certified indoor environmentalist. Sometimes people are confused about which rule applies to them, he notes, and what they need to be doing. He offers a practical rule of thumb: “If your property is HUD-funded and built before 1978, follow the rules for lead hazard controls,” Morosco advises. “They are joint rules that generally work together.”

Morosco looks at the rules and requirements from a practical standpoint. Yes, there could be more expense involved in finding and working with certified renovators. But it would be more expensive if improper renovation resulted in a lawsuit. “It's a low-cost alternative to litigation that you might have to defend yourself against,” Morosco says. “And it is likely that enforcement of these rules is going to become stronger.”

The EPA has the authority to seek civil fines and criminal fines for a firm that knowingly violates the requirements of the RRP rule requirements. The EPA also can revoke certifications for firms and individuals who violate the requirements. State and local regulations and penalties also may apply to renovation projects.

HUD and the EPA both provide information about accredited trainers and certified renovators, as do some states. A good place to start is HUD's Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control at

In addition to finding and developing working relationships with certified renovators who are reputable and reliable, Morosco recommends a step that puts site owners and managers in a good position to help assure compliance. “Have someone on your staff get certified as well,” he says. “That can help you meet the requirement that a certified person be on-site and available by phone 24/7.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is Oct. 24-30, 2010. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a free toolkit with a variety of material. Visit

Insider Source

Bernard J. Morosco: Consulting, Training and Inspection Services, 56 Woodberry Rd., New Hartford, NY 13413; (315) 794-0825;


Is Your Site Covered By LSHR?


  • Federally owned housing being sold

  • Housing receiving a federal subsidy that is associated with the property, rather than with the occupants (project-based assistance)

  • Public housing

  • Housing occupied by a family receiving a tenant-based subsidy (such as a voucher or certificate)

  • Multifamily housing for which mortgage insurance is being sought

  • Housing receiving federal assistance for rehabilitation, reducing homelessness, and other special needs


  • Housing built since Jan. 1, 1978, when lead paint was banned for residential use

  • Housing exclusively for the elderly or people with disabilities, unless a child under age 6 is expected to reside there

  • Zero-bedroom dwellings, including efficiency apartments, single-room occupancy housing, dormitories, or military barracks

  • Property that has been found to be free of lead-based paint by a certified lead-based paint inspector

  • Property where all lead-based paint has been removed

  • Unoccupied housing that will remain vacant until it is demolished

  • Nonresidential property

  • Any rehabilitation or housing improvement that does not disturb a painted surface

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