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Lead Paint:

What's at Stake

If your building retains paint that was applied prior to 1978, chances are there is lead present.

While lead paint dust or deteriorated lead painted surfaces can present real challenges, the presence of lead paint does not mean your woodwork, windows, or siding are unsafe or that they need to be replaced. When tackling a renovation project, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and others if you suspect lead paint is present. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and many state agencies have guidelines to help you work safely.

New regulations regarding lead paint, known as the renovation, repair, and painting rule, were officially adopted by the EPA and went into effect on April 22, 2010. The new rule requires the following:

  • Renovation firms must be certified.
  • Renovators and dust sampling technicians must be trained and certified.
  • Non-certified workers must work under and be trained on the job by a certified renovator.
  • Work practices must be followed for renovations covered by the rule.
  • Renovators must educate owners and/or occupants.
  • Training providers must be accredited.

In its most basic form, the new rule mandates stricter lead-safe work practices for this category of older properties.

Historic buildings can be made lead-safe while preserving their significant architectural features. Through simple maintenance, inexpensive materials, and lead-safe renovation techniques, the integrity of historic places can be ensured. Using conscientious work protocols regarding lead paint, older and historic buildings can be safe, healthy places to live and work. More information available at

This article is excerpted and reprinted with the permission of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1785 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036, (202)588-6053,

Ten Basic Tips for Lead-Safe Practices
From setup to clean up, going lead-safe is easier than you think. However, before beginning to work, always consult your local or state ordinance to determine the legal method for handling and disposing of lead paint.

1. Check the Law Before beginning work, consult your local or state ordinance to determine the legal method for handling and disposing of lead paint.

2. Clear the Area Children and pregnant women should never be allowed in the work area.

3. Work Day Dos & Don'ts Wash your hands and face before smoking, eating, and drinking. Never smoke, eat, or drink in the area where you are working.

4. Watch the Eyes & Hands Wear disposable gloves and eye protection.

5. Don't Breathe It In Use a respirator if there is friable paint or if you are scraping or sanding paint.

6. Cut Down on Dust Use a wet sanding technique to minimize dust.

7. Vacuum using a high efficiency particulate air filter.

8. Laundry Wash your work clothes separately from your household laundry. You can also wear a Tyvek suit to protect your clothes. Take the suit and your shoes off before you leave your work area.

9. Cover & Protect Place tarps under your work surface to collect loose paint. Seal off the work space from other rooms and from HVAC systems. Cover furniture and other items in the work area.

10. Eat Right In general, eating a nutritious diet rich in iron and calcium will reduce the amount of lead absorbed by your body if any does happen to be ingested.

Volume 41 - 2010


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From the Editor

The Cosmopolitan Hotel: A Resurrection of the Past

Most Endangered List of Historic Resources

Lead Paint: What's at Stake?

The California Theatre Under Siege

10-Year Anniversary at the Whaley House

Marston House - First Year Retrospective

People In Preservation Winners

An Evening Well Spent at PIP

Preservation Community


Book Review

Strength in Numbers

Donations 2010

Lost San Diego


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