EPA Lead Testing – Information for Homeowners
What is EPA Lead Testing?
In April 2010, the EPA instituted new regulations regarding lead paint testing for all homes built prior to 1978 and, if lead paint is found, the EPA has proscribed safe remodeling practices to be used. Lead was an additive used in paint to enhance both the brightness of colors as well as the durability of the paint. Lead was later linked to potentially serious health issues, specifically for young children, pregnant women and women of childbearing age so it was banned as an additive beginning in 1978. The new EPA regulations are designed to inform and protect families during remodeling or repairs to their home.
Does my home need to be tested?
If your home was built in 1978 or afterwards, it does not need to be tested because lead was banned as an additive to paint by that time. However, if your home was built prior to 1978, the EPA regulations state that your home MUST be tested prior to certain remodeling activities. Specifically, any project that involves the replacement of windows and doors requires that these areas of the home be tested for the presence of lead paint. (For other remodeling projects, the home may or may not need to be tested – see the Remodeling Right brochure in English or Spanish for additional information.)
What are the chances that of lead paint in my home?
Even before it was banned, the use of lead as an additive to paint had declined because of the link to potential health problems. However, as you can see from the graph below, lead may be present in any home built prior to 1978 and the likelihood of finding lead contamination increases based upon the age of the home. Only a certified technician using EPA approved tests can determine the presence of lead.
What is involved in testing?
While there are a number of tests available that anyone can use, to meet the EPA guidelines and standards an EPA approved test must be used and it must be administered by a certified professional. Even if a homeowner or non-certified contractor has tested for the presence of lead, any pre-1978 home must be tested again by a certified technician using an EPA approved test that is appropriate for the surfaces to be tested.
Custom Windows is certified by the EPA to test for lead and exclusively uses the only test that is approved by the EPA for testing on all major building surfaces, including drywall and plaster, D-Lead by ESCA Tech. The tests must be carried out on different surfaces and paint types that may be disturbed and involve removing a small sample of paint for each area tested.
What happens if lead is found?
In these cases, Custom Windows follows procedures developed by the EPA for remodeling and window installation, clean-up and post-installation testing procedures. These control the possibility that lead paint dust contamination will occur inside or outside of the home.
While lead-based paint can be a potential hazard, Custom Windows is dedicated to minimizing this as a concern for the homeowner by following the testing and, as necessary, the installation procedures that have been defined and approved by the EPA. For more information, see the Renovate Right brochure.
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