BATON ROUGE, La. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced plans to increase lead safety and awareness of the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule by mailing postcards to uncertified renovation contractors as a reminder of their obligation to become certified and by increasing its monitoring and enforcement activities.
All paid contractors, maintenance workers, painters and other firms and individuals performing projects that disturb lead-based paint in housing and child-occupied facilities built before 1978 are required to be lead-certified, said LSU AgCenter housing specialist Claudette Reichel. The firm must apply to EPA, and at least one person in the firm must be a Lead-Certified Renovator.
To help encourage healthy homes in the Gulf Coast region, the LSU AgCenter LaHouse Resource Center has joined with the National Center for Healthy Housing to offer various healthy homes training programs, including Lead-Certified Renovator Training classes, Reichel said.
"It's handy timing that LaHouse Resource Center on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge has a class scheduled on Feb. 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.," Reichel said. "Contractors who are not yet lead-certified are encouraged to attend and get their firm EPA certified in order to avoid costly penalties and to protect the health of themselves, their workers and their customers."
Lead-based paint is the most common cause of lead poisoning and its toxic effects. Young children are at the greatest risk for lead poisoning and can face serious, irreversible developmental damage with even the smallest exposure, without showing any symptoms.
"Learning disabilities, hearing loss and serious behavior problems are just some of the effects lead paint exposure can have on children," Reichel said. "It can also be hazardous to adults, especially those with high blood pressure."
After completing this course, attendees take the RRP certification test, administered through the National Center for Healthy Housing, a nationwide EPA-accredited RRP training provider.
Louisiana residential contractors also can earn 8 CEUs, Reichel said.
Course participation includes the course booklet, hands-on activities and certification test.
More information about the certification requirements, course fees and a link to the course registration site are available at the seminars and events link www.lsuagcenter.com/LaHouse.