Painting and Related News

Lead Paint: Regulations and Solutions

Lead CheckMagic Brush signStripping with Heat Gun 
Vol. 1A   November, 2010

Are you familiar with the latest Lead Paint Regulations? Do you know that they effect the activities of each and every homeowner and their contractors, architects, and designers? Perhaps it is time to find out what you can do about it, too ...
In This Issue
A Lead "Primer"
EPA-RRP Certifications, Regulations, and More...
Quick Links

View my profile on LinkedIn

You know me as the contractor/owner of Magic Brush, Inc., the painting company I founded back in 1976.

One of our specialties then (as now) was the "Painting Restoration" of older facades, which often included stripping old lead paint.
  In the "good ole days" this meant using propane torches to "burn" the paint off the building (without burning down the building, of course.) 

Back then, we had no real knowledge of the hazards of disturbing lead paint.  Gradually, our growing awareness of the issues demanded we take action.

In 1998, as part of my responsibility as a professional painting contractor, I completed the requirements for California Department of Public Health Certification to become a Lead Paint Supervisor, and in 2010 I passed the state Lead Risk Assessor exam.  (I am now known as "Inspector #3894".)

In this premier volume of our newsletter I will try to shed some light on the recent lead rules and offer some solutions to them. You may be surprised to learn that YOU have an important role to play.

Robert Dufort

A Lead "Primer"
Lead Paint, Our Bodies, Our Homes

The presence of lead paint in older homes is a common problem. In fact, according to EPA studies, 69% of homes built before 1960 contain lead. Among homes built before 1940 that figure jumps to a whopping 87%!

Lead is a serious health and safety issue. Our bodies have zero use for lead, and we can only tolerate it in minimal amounts without negative health effects. 

In children the consequences of lead exposure are more severe and more likely to be permanent.

Many older homes already contain some level of lead contamination created by friction points (e.g. the movement of doors and windows) and deteriorated paint. Furthermore, virtually ALL construction activities have the potential to create lead paint dust - it is not just paint prep that disturbs lead!

To read Robert's "Lead Essay", please visit:

Stripping Plaster Ornament
EPA-RRP Certifications, Regulations, and More...

There are numerous regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over lead paint contamination, including the EPA, OSHA, and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).  San Francisco even has its own local ordinances, as do other municipalities.

The EPA, in yet another attempt to inform contractors and homeowners of lead hazards and safe methods of mitigating "lead pollution", recently created the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule (RRP).  Effective April, 2010, it mandated the certification of all contractors who work in pre-1978 housing and childcare facilities.  Thus, it applies to almost all San Francisco housing.

Any contractor who disturbs old lead paint must be EPA-RRP certified and must only hire RRP certified subs.  Additionally, painting contractors who work on older residences should also be certified by the CDPH Childhood Lead Division.
What You Can Do

Obviously, certification is only half the battle, if that.  Implementation of the regulations is certainly the more important aspect. 

However, the regulations themselves are still largely ignored, even in Pacific Heights.  What is really needed are informed owners who insist that their painters, general contractors, architects, and designers perform and oversee all construction activities in a "lead safe" manner.

If you are considering having any construction and/or painting work performed, I highly recommend that "lead issues" - and how they will be addressed - be one of the subjects discussed.  Specifically.  It is not safe to assume that even the "big name" contractors take this seriously enough (unless you make it an issue).

If one of your neighbors or friends is contemplating similar work, encourage them to consider the issue likewise. Their actions (or the lack thereof) can have a profound effect not only upon their property and family, but yours as well.

Please feel free to
forward this email (button below) to any potentially interested party - whether they be family, friend, contractor, architect, designer.....

I am happy to try to answer any questions that may arise out of this issue.

Thank you kindly,

Robert Dufort
                        415 641-8622

View our profile on LinkedIn