The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set a deadline for painters, electricians, general contractors and anyone else who might disturb lead-based paint during a job to get trained in techniques to keep themselves and others safe from lead chips and dust. The techniques are required for any home or other building built before 1978.
Here's a few tips for property owners planning to have work done on their homes:
--When hiring someone to do paint or remodeling work, ask the contractor for his or her EPA certification number.
--Look for the EPA's lead-safe logo.
--The EPA currently doesn't have a list of all contractors who are certified, but the Minnesota Department of Health hopes to have a list of all certified contractors on its website within the next few months. For now, property owners can read about the dangers of lead and how to clean up lead in a home.
--If you're planning to do your own work on your home that was built before 1978, read up on lead-safe techniques. The Lead-Free Kids website has some brief information for do-it-yourselfers, and the EPA has more extensive guidelines here.
--Property owners can also sign up for a course in lead containment. Search for an EPA-accredited program here.