Other Federal Agencies/Programs
Lead poisoning is a serious health threat,
especially for children
under six years old. If lead is ingested, it
can accumulate in the blood. The Center for Disease Control has
determined there is no safe level of lead in the blood for children under six
The federal government banned
lead-based paint in 1978. However, many buildings and other structures
constructed before 1978 — such as houses — still
have lead-based paint on walls, woodwork, siding, windows and doors. Exposure to
lead-contaminated dust can occur when paint deteriorates or is chipped away
from interior surfaces. Lead paint on surfaces that children can chew on — such
as windowsills or door frames — can present a hazard even if it is in good
condition. Lead paint on exterior surfaces can contaminate soil.
Many local jurisdictions administer lead poisoning
prevention programs focused on primary prevention through education, blood lead
testing and case management. Local agencies similarly administer a variety of
federal, state and local lead laws and regulations that establish requirements
related to identifying and remediating lead hazards (the
National Conference of State Legislatures has compiled a
list of state statutes addressing lead hazards in
Local governments may be responsible for complying with
those requirements at the properties they own and manage. Local
governments and drinking water suppliers also have obligations regarding lead
in drinking water (please see the
LGEAN page devoted to compliance with the Safe Drinking
Federal Laws and Regulations
The principal federal laws governing lead
paint in housing are contained in the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard
Reduction Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). These laws create
responsibilities for homeowners and property managers and direct EPA
and the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) to promulgate regulations implementing the
EPA and HUD promulgated the Lead-Based
Paint Disclosure Rule. The Rule requires building
owners to disclose
lead-based hazards to prospective buyers or tenants before selling or leasing a
property. "Owners" include government agencies.
EPA promulgated two major sets of regulations
addressing lead-based paint: the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP)
Rule and the Lead-Based Paint Activities Rule. A
state can petition to administer and enforce these two sets of regulations, but
its program must be at least as protective as the federal program. EPA
authorized many states to administer the RRP Rule (authorized programs here)
and the Lead-Based Paint Activities Rule (authorized programs here).
EPA also authorizes Tribes to administer the RRP rule. These regulations refer
only to renovations and abatement activities and do not require any affirmative
action to identify or abate lead-based hazards. Various state and local laws may
create such obligations.
Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP)
RRP Rule (promulgated in 2008 and since amended)
aims to protect the public
from lead-based paint hazards associated with renovation, repair and painting
activities. A renovation project is defined as "the
modification of any existing structure, or portion of a structure, that results
in the disturbance of painted surfaces," unless the activity is performed as
part of an abatement.
The rule applies to anyone who performs renovations for compensation in
pre-1978 housing ("target housing") or child-occupied facilities, which are
defined as pre-1978 buildings visited regularly by the same child under six
years of age.
The RRP rule requires each firm to be
certified, to have at least one certified renovator and for the remainder of
employees involved in renovation activities to either also be certified
renovators or be trained on the job by a certified renovator. To become a
certified renovator, a person must complete a renovator training course
accredited by EPA or an EPA-authorized program. The
RRP Rule also requires that renovators follow lead-safe
work practices. These practices include: work-area
containment to prevent dust and debris from leaving the work area; prohibition
of certain work practices like open-flame burning and the use of power tools
without High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) exhaust control; and thorough
clean up followed by a verification procedure to minimize exposure to
lead-based paint hazards. The rule also requires firms to distribute EPA's lead
hazard information pamphlet Renovate
Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers and
Schools before starting renovation work. There
are also record keeping
requirements regarding implementation of RRP
See list of states authored to administer the
RRP rule here.
Lead-Based Paint Activities Rule
Lead-Based Paint Activities Rule (promulgated
in 1996) governs lead-based paint inspections, risk assessments and abatements
in target housing and child-occupied facilities. Abatement is a specialized
activity designed to address lead in the home. RRP activities (including most
home contracting work) disturb paint as a consequence of the activity, but they
are often undertaken for reasons unrelated to lead issues.
The Lead-Based Paint Activities Rule requires
individuals who engage in lead-based paint activities (defined as inspection,
risk assessment and abatement in target housing and child-occupied facilities)
to be certified
by EPA. Firms must also be certified
by EPA and employ certified workers. The Lead-Based Paint Activities Rule also
creates work practice standards
for these activities.
Lead-based Paint Hazards Rule
EPA also established Dust
Lead Hazard Standards (DLHS), Paint Lead Hazard Standards and Soil-Lead Hazard
Standards. In early 2021, EPA finalized a new
rule updating these standards by lowering the
allowable amount of lead present in dust on floors and windowsills to 10
micrograms ("g) of lead in dust per square foot (ft2) for floor dust
and 100 "g/ft2 for windowsill dust. The 9th
Circuit Court of Appeals held, however, that these
new levels are inadequate and directed the agency to reconsider the levels to
account for current knowledge about the toxicity of lead.
Lead Safe Housing Rule
Safe Housing Rule, promulgated by HUD,
requires risk assessment, rehabilitation and lead abatement for target, or
pre-1978, federally assisted properties. Whether a building qualifies, and the
exact requirements to reduce lead-based hazards, depend on various factors. A formula
helps determine what affirmative duties apply to federally assisted housing,
based on the funding source and date of construction. For example, if a project
receives over $25,000 in federal rehab assistance, then lead-based hazard
abatement is required and must be carried out by a certified contractor.
Properties receiving less than $25,000 in federal rehab assistance must also
use certified abatement contractors if the project they are undertaking is
intended to eliminate lead paint hazards. Funding sources matter; for example,
public housing has some of the most stringent abatement requirements. A state or
Tribal government receiving federal funds will be subject to these requirements
to identify lead, give notice to occupants and abate lead.
Disposal and Construction
Construction and Demolition (C&D) workers
can be exposed to lead contamination when cutting, scraping, sanding, heating,
burning or blasting lead-based paint from building components, metal bridges
and metal storage tanks. In addition to workers suffering lead exposure,
lead-based paint debris or dust from these activities can also make its way
into soil, potentially contaminating surface waters.
Proper management of C&D debris
contaminated with lead-based paint depends on where the debris originated and their
Commercial and industrial sites: If a
representative sample meets the toxicity characteristic (D008), both lead-based
paint waste (e.g., paint chips, dust and sludge resulting from removal or
remediation activities) and C&D debris from commercial or industrial sites
that is contaminated with lead-based paint must
be managed as RCRA
hazardous waste. However, whole-building demolition debris is deemed
non-hazardous under RCRA for lead and should be disposed of in a C&D
landfill or as otherwise provided by state law.
- Homes: Residential
waste from lead-based paint may be disposed of in
a C&D landfill or a municipal solid waste landfill. EPA promulgated regulations
in 2003 to facilitate removal of lead-based paint in residential housing. EPA
encourages best practices, and contractors are subject to training and
certification requirements. Additionally, HUD has established guidelines
for contractors. Lead-based paint waste itself falls under
state, rather than federal regulation. In most states, contractors working to
renovate, remodel or abate lead-based paint in homes are allowed to dispose of
lead-based paint waste as household garbage. In many states, these contractors
do not need to determine whether the waste meets the toxicity characteristic
required under RCRA.
EPA Lead Center. Compendium of EPA
resources, including basic safety information, policies and guidance documents,
EPA news releases, webinars and details on both the RRP Rule and the Abatement
and Evaluation Program.
Compliance Assistance. Guidance on complying with
the RRP Rule for pre-1978 structures, especially housing and buildings occupied
by children (e.g., schools and day-care centers). Includes links to EPA, state
and Tribal sites on the subject and guidance materials on complying with the
RRP. Available in Spanish (haga clic aqu" para
with Federal Renovation, Repair and Painting Regulation.
EPA small business compliance handbook for contractors, property managers,
painters, plumbers, electricians and other service providers who might be
regulated by federal RRP requirements. Provides information on certification,
record keeping, best practices and training
Your Family from Lead. EPA-approved pamphlet for
information on identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards.
Reference Guide for Lead and Copper Rule.
Concise reference guide highlighting key requirements for municipalities
regarding compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act"s Lead and Copper Rule.
Other Federal Agencies/Programs
Grants for Elimination of Lead-based Hazards in Homes.
Information and links to application for removal of lead-based hazards in
homes. Contains information for both the Lead-Based Paint Hazard
Control (LHC) and the Lead Hazard Reduction grant programs (LHRD).
HUD Memo on Housing
Waste. Guide for disposing of housing waste when
disturbing lead-based paint.
Explains duties under Lead Safe Housing Rule.
New York State
Publication: What to Know When Working with Lead.
Contains information for contractors, owners and occupants regarding rules and
best practices for renovations.
Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) List of State Statutes.
NCSL list of state statutes addressing lead hazards in homes.
Conference of State Legislatures Report.
NCSL report on reducing childhood lead exposure in housing. Surveys legislative
and regulatory efforts from state and local governments, as well as federally
funded policy interventions that are administered by states.
Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) Lead Resources.
Provides resources for prevention strategies for individual property managers,
broader interventions to control and monitor lead poisoning and databases on
both lead poisoning and lead legislation among states and localities.