Lead paint regulations have been enforced since 2010. Now, the EPA is making it easier for homeowners to find certified contractors.
Lead in paint has been outlawed since 1978. If your home was built before that the EPA says that lead-safe work practices must be followed. That means lots of tape and plastic to protect your home and family (and your contractor).
...very often we're told the yard is cleaner than it was when we started!
If a pre-'78 home is proved to have no lead in the work surfaces then lead-safe practices do not have to be followed. But the test procedures are fraught with their own set tangled rules - so we just assume lead on every project and work accordingly.
This means more more prep work than most contractors will do: we cover gardens to keep paint chips out, we sweep and vacuum driveways and decks and very often customers tell us the yard is cleaner than it was when we started!
We equip our painters with gloves and proper breathing protection when they're scraping, too. And soap to wash hands before lunch and at the end of the day.
We keep the soap in a nylon stocking - an old Girl Scout trick that my wife was only too proud to show off on a family camping trip. (The nylon stocking keeps the soap free of dirt.) There was a lot of eye-rolling when I broke that one out but the guys do use it (while they tease).
Lead poisoning is very serious business. Young children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable. Contractors that ignore the EPA's RRP (Renovate, Repair & Paint) regulations are putting their business at risk. Those same contractors are also unlikely to share the risks with their customers or their employees.
There is a slight cost difference in complying: more time in implementing lead-safe protection, more materials also. On the flip-side, our systems allow us to protect very efficiently and clean up much more effectively than we ever did before implementing lead-safe work practices.
It feels good to do the right thing. All that, and a contractor's nod to the Girl Scouts, to boot!