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Heavy Fines on the Horizon for Violators of New Lead Paint Standards

Federal certification requirements to take effect

SACRAMENTO -The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is reminding licensees that beginning April 22, 2010, contractors could face fines of up to $37,500 for not complying with federal regulations aimed at protecting them and consumers from exposure to dust from lead-based paints.

The new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) requirements apply to those working on remodeling projects in homes, childcare facilities, and schools built before 1978, all of which are presumed to have lead-based paint. Although the lead-based paint may have been covered by non-toxic paints in subsequent years, remodeling or demolition will disturb the lead paint underneath, potentially harming workers and consumers. For example, amount of lead dust that can cover a three-by-five-inch card can poison a 1,500-square-foot house or apartment, and cause it to fail a lead safety inspection.

Contractors conducting renovation activities in pre-1978 buildings must receive training from a U.S. EPA-accredited training provider. Contractors or their employees with lead safety certification from the California Department of Public Health (DPH) may take a four-hour U.S. EPA-accredited course to achieve federal compliance. At least one person in a firm must be trained and certified in renovation. That firm must then apply to U.S. EPA for firm certification.

The requirements apply to all contractors who disturb lead-based paint in a six-square- foot area or greater indoors, and a 20-square-foot area outdoors. If a DPH-certified inspector or risk assessor determines that a home constructed before 1978 is lead-free, the federal certification is not required for anyone working on that particular building.

Renovator firm certification costs $300 and lasts for five years. Certification forms are available at, or call 1-800-424-LEAD (5323). Listings of accredited training providers are also available on this Web site. The cost for the training course varies by provider.


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