Up until 1978, lead was commonly added to paint and used in over 38 million homes in the U.S. Lead is a naturally occurring metallic mineral and was used in paints as a color additive, for hastening the drying of the paint, and for its water resistant properties.
Since 1978 in the U.S., lead has been banned as an additive in paints, but many older buildings still have layers of lead-based paint on walls and ceilings. Often this hazardous mineral is lurking beneath the surface of lead-free paint which has been applied over it. If the surface deteriorates, becomes damaged, or is disturbed during repairs or renovations, lead dust and particles enter the environment and pose a serious long-term health risk.
Renovating the Right Way for Lead Safety
Sellers of homes must now give written notice to buyers and renters informing them of the presence of lead-based paints in the building. Federal laws also require building contractors to provide clients with a pamphlet called “Renovate Right” whenever the work involves removal of over 6 square feet of the wall surface on the inside or 20 square feet on the outside of the building or any work at a child care facility or the removal of any old windows.
Removing old lead-based paint is a job for trained and equipped specialists with state certification in these procedures. The California Department of Public Health now requires certification for anyone involved in any of the following areas of lead abatement work:
- Inspectors and assessors must have an I/A certificate to take paint chip or soil samples for lead testing, visual inspection of the property, preparation of reports on lead hazard for a specific building, proposals for abatement, and inspection for the lead after abatement work had been done.
- Sampling Technician certification allows a person to do some of the tasks of an I/A certificate under their supervision.
- Project Monitor certification is for people who manage construction projects involving lead abatement.
- Supervisor certification allows the oversight of daily work on the construction site.
- Worker certification is for laborers, carpenters, and other workers who work on construction sites involving lead removal and abatement.
Tri Span Environmental is a building contractor specializing in certification for all types of lead abatement work.