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New Lead Regulations To Protect Homeowners

National legislation requires special certification for contractors working with lead-based paint

SKOKIE, Ill. (April 9, 2010) – Many home renovation projects expose harmful lead dust and chips.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is implementing new standards to protect homeowners from coming in contact with lead-based toxins when contractors are working in their homes.

The standards go into effect April 22, 2010, and require all contractors to take a certification training course before working in homes, child care facilities and schools built prior to 1978, the year the sale and usage of lead-based paint was banned. The training educates contractors on the dangers of lead and on ways to properly contain the work area, minimize dust and utilize specific clean-up techniques, such as wet mopping.

Hester Painting & Decorating is one of the first firms in the area to be EPA certified. According to Jeff Hester, vice president of Hester Painting & Decorating, the 42-year-old company has long followed its own intensive lead-safety procedures and is happy to see the EPA requiring such standards for all contractors.  Even with new certification, Hester suggests owners of homes built before 1978 take the following steps when hiring a contractor to renovate, repair or paint their homes.

  1. Ask questions.  Homeowners should ask the potential contractor how the work area will be contained during the project.  Certified contractors will know to use heavy-duty plastic to cover the floors, furniture, doors and vents. Homeowners should also ask how the contractor will clean the area upon completion.
  2. Assume there’s lead.  The use of lead paint was widespread before it was outlawed.  Any dwelling, from public housing to a grandiose mansion, built before 1978 is likely to contain lead.  “I always advise clients to err on the side of caution, because even the nicest neighborhoods have lead paint. Unless we know otherwise, we always presume it’s there,” said Hester.
  3. Request to see the EPA certificate. “If the contractor can’t show you his certification, you have no guarantee your family won’t be exposed to dangerous lead dust.  This is a particular concern if you have babies or children in your home,” said Hester.
  4. Get the brochure. Before work begins, every contractor is required by law to provide a copy of Renovate Right, the EPA brochure, to the customer.  Homeowners should be hesitant to hire a contractor who does not proactively offer the brochure and cannot provide a copy of the EPA certificate on request.

Founded more than forty years ago, Hester Painting & Decorating provides homes and high-profile commercial establishments with high-end decorating services.  Widely regarded as a leader in the fields of painting, faux finishing, and exterior and interior maintenance, Hester Painting & Decorating utilizes an enormous repertoire of finishes and wall covering techniques to create unique environments for its clients.  More information about franchising opportunities and other services offered by Hester Painting & Decorating is available at (847) 677-5130.

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