ABOUT YOUR REMODELING PROJECT!
DANGER! DON'T BE FOOLED BY LEAD BY CONTRACTOR'S - MAKE SURE YOUR HOME IS LEFT LEAD SAFE NOT JUST CLEAN!
When you are going to have maintenance, repairs or remodeling done on your home if it was built before 1978 and involves sanding, painting, removing, and replacing painted components (walls, ceilings, windows, doors, trim, etc.) or regardless of age, involves demolishing or removing ceramic tile or a cast iron bathtub make sure that the areas worked in and the paths leading to those areas were properly cleaned and left LEAD SAFE not just clean. When the house was built before 1978 by EPA regulation the work is supposed to be done by a contractor who has gotten RRP certified by the EPA. This requires taking an 8 hour course in lead safe work practices. Due to the brevity of this course there is not enough time to teach specialized cleaning which is what is needed to clean surfaces to LEAD SAFE LEVELS and pass a clearance examination.
The contractors are taught after the final cleaning to do cleaning verification. This involves wiping a wet wipe over a surface and then compare to a cleaning verification card. If it is the same color or lighter it means that surface is now clean. It by no means does it mean it is LEAD SAFE. To determine if the surface is LEAD SAFE a licensed risk assessor wipes a specific size area with an approved dust wipe which is then taken to an accredited lab and analyzed. This is the only way to verify the surfaces were in fact left LEAD SAFE.Even though surfaces may visually appear to be very clean they may not be LEAD SAFE. You cannot see lead dust because it has no color. The clearance examination should not just be in rooms worked in but also the pathways that lead to these rooms. As part of the contractor’s set up the areas being worked in should be completely sealed off to the rest of the house. If they are not then many other areas in the house may need to be dust wiped by the risk assessor. If the areas being worked in are not properly sealed off it is possible to contaminate the entire house with lead dust.
Now, let's talk about lead paint testing. The contractor can assume it is lead paint or test with store bought do it yourself test kits. These test kits according to a study the EPA had conducted are known to throw off a high percentage of false positives. The problem with both of these approaches is that they could result in extra charges for additional materials and labor that in fact were not necessary. The only way to determine if there is lead there and how much is either with an XRF or paint chip samples analyzed by a lab. This could result in additional expense to the homeowner. I cannot possibly emphasize enough the extreme importance of a clearance examination after the work is completed and ideally before the contractor gets final payment to give the homeowner PEACE OF MIND that the areas where the work was done are now LEAD SAFE to live in. As a professional in the lead testing business for over 25 years I can assure you the clearance examination is by far the most important and meaningful thing you can possible do. Clients over the years have said "IT GAVE ME PEACE OF MIND". If the homeowner pays for the initial clearance examination and any of those samples fail any additional sampling should be at the expense of the contractor.