In April 2010 the US EPA began to require lead-safe renovating for all window installs on homes built prior to 1978. The federal requirement is that lead-safe practices must be done on all homes with lead paint levels in excess of .5%. The Wisconsin legislature decided to make it even tougher and mandated that lead-safe practices must be done on all homes with lead paint levels in excess of .06%.
Because the required lead-safe training is in short supply in other states, the US EPA has delayed enforcement for contractors. This has caused some confusion with contractors. Despite the EPA’s delay of enforcement, there is no grace period nor is there a delay for the requirement of lead-safe renovation in Wisconsin. Many contractors would much rather not concern themselves with lead-safe renovating. The reasons are simple — cost. Many legitimate contractors are concerned that if they pass along the costs of lead safe renovating to their customers, they will lose jobs to less ethical contractors and contractors who are either feigning ignorance about the new lead-safe rules or simply can’t be bothered to comply with the law. This gives scofflaws and unethical contractors a distinct advantage.
To date, there is no commercially available test that will measure lead levels as low as .06% so Wisconsin contractors are required to assume lead is present in all homes built prior to 1978. This is especially important for homes with children and women of childbearing years. Lead poisoning can wreak havoc on the brains of children and the only treatment, chelation, is painful and provides limited benefit.
For a copy of the newest version of “Renovate Right” by the EPA, click here.