Wood Repair: Termite Damage, Dry Rot & the New EPA “Lead-Safe” Regulations And Why You Need To Know About Them!
On April 22, 2010, new Federal EPA regulations went into effect. Firms working on
Homes built before 1978 must now be certified and use lead-safe practices during renovations, termite damaged wood repair or dry rot damage repair.
Click the video below to watch Termite Terry’s important message about the new EPA Lead Safe Regulations
Call “Termite” Terry Pest Control at (949) 631-7348
Before the Consumer Products Safety Commission banned the sale of lead-based paint for residential use in 1978, lead based paints were commonly used on the interiors and exteriors of homes. Lead was added because it helped to speed up the drying process, increased durability, it helped paint to retain a fresh appearance and it increased paint’s ability to resist moisture. Unfortunately, lead is a dangerous substance.
Today, the EPA tells us:
- 1% of our nation’s children have elevated levels of lead in their system.
- Over 250,000 children are affected nationwide.
- In Maine, a recent study showed that 60% of lead poisonings were directly linked to construction repairs.
- In the latest year’s study, 94 cases of lead poisoning were reported where we live in Orange County.
Children under the age of six are most at risk – Even from small amounts of lead. The reason they are at greater risk is because their young bodies are developing. Also, you know that kids are always putting their hands and other things in their mouths so that increases the chance that they may swallow or inhale lead dust. In children, lead can cause nervous system damage, kidney damage, decreased intelligence, attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities. Lead exposure may also cause speech, language and behavioral problems.
Pregnant women are especially at risk from exposure to lead. Lead is passed from the mother to the fetus and may cause miscarriages, premature births, brain damage and low birth weight.
Adults may also suffer from exposure. Some of the effects are high blood pressure, fertility problems in men and women, digestive problems, nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems, sexual disorders and muscle or joint pain.
How Widespread Is Lead-Based Paint In Housing?
According to the American Healthy Homes Survey, dated October 7, 2008, approximately 34 million homes built before 1978 contain lead-based paint. Here is a breakdown of what they found:
- 86 percent of homes built before 1940 have lead-based paint
- 66 percent of homes built in 1940-1959 have lead-based paint
- 25 percent of homes built in 1960-1978 have lead-based paint
Components most likely to be coated with lead-based paint are windows, doors, exterior walls and porches. You should also note that concentrations of lead in paint were higher prior to the 1950s. Paint companies started manufacturing paints with lower amounts of lead after that.
How Can I Tell If My House Has Lead-Based Paint?
In California, our Cal EPA requires that you have your home tested by a Certified Lead Inspector or Certified Lead Risk Assessor. Do-it-yourself lead test kits that you find at a Home Depot or paint store are not considered to be a valid test in California. Fees for Certified testing vary between $250-500, depending on the size of your home, the number of locations that need to be tested and the testing company you choose. If your home has more that one color of paint, each color will need to be tested as well.
Once the testing is complete, you will receive a report that you can keep and present to contractors in the future so that you won’t have to do this again. You should also keep this report in case you ever decide to sell your home because you will be required to disclose whether or not your home has lead paint before you will be able to complete the sales transaction.
What If My Home Does Not Have Any Lead Based Paint?
If your home does not have any lead based paint, the new rules do not apply. Your home may be repaired, remodeled or painted in the same old ways we’ve been doing for years.
**BIG BONUS** For homeowners that are thinking about selling their home, don’t forget to keep a copy of your report! It will help increase the value of your home because you’ll be able to market it as “LEAD FREE”.
If My Home Has Lead-Based Paint, What Will I Need To Do?
If your home’s paint is found to have a lead content equal to or in excess of 1.0 milligram per square centimeter or more than 0.5 percent by weight and you will be disturbing an area greater than 6 square feet on the interior or greater than 20 square feet on the exterior, your home will have to be repaired using the EPA’s Lead-Safe Practices.
NOTE: Certain cities and counties, such as Los Angeles and San Diego, have more strict standards. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) standards are tougher, yet. You’ll need to consult your local agencies before commencement of your project.
Call “Termite” Terry Pest Control at (949) 631-7348
What Are Lead-Safe Practices?
The book that contains all of these new rules and regulations is really thick and it would take a day or two to read. But, here are some key points that you really need to follow if your California home was built before 1978 and has lead-based paint:
- Before any work is started, homeowners must receive and sign the EPA’s Renovate Right Pamphlet. A signed copy of this document must be kept on file by the renovator for 3 years.
- An EPA Certified Renovator must be assigned to all jobs.
- Warning signs must be clearly posted and a 20 foot barrier should be established around the work area to keep occupants and other unauthorized persons out.
- Before renovation starts, work areas must be contained to insure that no dust or debris leaves the work area during the renovation.
- For interior renovations, all objects will need to be removed from the area or covered with plastic and sealed. Flooring, at least six feet in all directions of renovation, will need to be covered with plastic sheeting. Doors, windows, ducts, outlets and wall switches all need to be sealed.
- For exterior renovations, all doors and windows within 20 feet of renovation must be closed. Plastic sheeting must be placed on the ground and must extend at least 10 feet in all directions from the renovation.
- The following work practices are prohibited during a renovation:
- No open-flame torches may be used to torch or burn lead-based paint.
- No heat guns may be used if they operate at 1100 degrees or higher.
- Power speed sanders, grinders, planers, needle guns may not be used unless a HEPA vacuum is attached.
- Abrasive or sandblasting is not allowed unless all dust can be contained and captured.
- Power washing is not allowed unless all water can be captured and filtered.
- All waste from the renovation must be contained to prevent spread of dust and debris. Renovators need to work WET. In other words, spray lots of water over areas while sanding and scraping paint. Also, a HEPA vacuum should be used frequently to pick up dust and debris.
- After renovations have been completed, work areas must be thoroughly cleaned up.
- For interior renovations, all walls must be HEPA vacuumed or wiped, starting from the top down. All objects in the work area must be HEPA vacuumed or wiped down. Uncarpeted floor need to be HEPA vacuumed then wet mopped. Carpeted floors will need to be HEPA vacuumed. All interior renovations must receive a “cleaning verification” and all records must be kept on file by the renovator for three years.
- For exterior renovations, all paint chips and debris must be collected. Objects in work area should be wiped down and/or HEPA vacuumed as needed.
- At the end of each work day and at the conclusion of the renovation, hazardous waste must be stored securely to prevent access by unauthorized persons.
- A Certified Lead Risk Assessor will need to “characterize” hazardous waste from the renovation and determine it’s toxicity. Waste characterization will cost anywhere from $200 to $900. This is done to determine where these materials should be disposed (CAL EPA officials are especially concerned about lead leaching from hazardous waste materials into our ground water. The more toxic hazardous waste will be shipped to Nevada for disposal and of course, that will drive cost up sharply.)
- Hazardous waste must be transported by an authorized hazardous waste disposal company and placed at the proper waste disposal site (It is illegal for anyone else to transport this stuff and you don’t even want to imagine what our authorities will do to you if you get caught illegally dumping hazardous waste.). Disposal cost may range from $600 for a 50 gallon drum to $2,000 for a dumpster. All receipts for disposal of hazardous waste must be kept on file by the renovator for 3 years.
What Happens If You Get Caught Breaking These New Laws?
I’m going to try and not get too cynical, but there are a lot of people out there that see this as their next big CA$H windfall. Here’s what the EPA is going to do:
- Firms found to be non-compliant may be liable for civil penalties of up to $37,500 for each violation per day!
- Firms who knowingly or willfully violate this regulation maybe subject to fines of up to an additional $37,500 per violation, imprisonment or both. (This is a felony)
- The EPA has established a TOLL FREE NUMBER where neighbors can call, turn you in and collect big CA$H rewards! (You’ll see TV commercials advertising this “rat-fink” line, soon.)
Here Come The Attorneys!
Have you seen all the mesothelioma commercials on TV lately? Those lawyers are suing everybody and they are getting very rich by doing so. Well, that’s exactly what is happening with lead-based paint. Lawyers are already running commercials that ask if you bought a home build before 1978. If so, they are asking if you had any painting or repairs done and then they are asking “if you still feel alright”. There are hundreds of illnesses that can be caused by lead-based paint and if anyone has anything as simple as a headache or diarrhea, that may be all the evidence the lawyers need to file a lawsuit and make their clients very rich (I can already see a guy on TV telling everyone that he got 2.1 million dollars by winning one of these lawsuits).
And, while we’re talking about lawsuits, can you imagine anything worse than poisoning a child? The only thing that comes to mind would be to have a mother deliver a child and claim that her child has birth defects that were caused by YOUR lead-based paint. Oh my! – A case like that could literally end your world as you know it!
If You’re Thinking About Having Your Home Repaired,
What Should You Do Next?
If your home was built before 1978, the first thing you’ve got to do is to you have your home tested for lead-based paint. Don’t know who to call for a test? Call our office at (949) 631-7348 and we’ll be happy to suggest a couple of testing companies that can help you. We’re all in this together and if we can help you with a little information, then we’re hopeful that you’ll keep us in mind when you’re ready to start your repair project.
Remember, if your home is tested and it does not have any lead-based paint, the new rules do not apply. (Make sure you keep a copy of the test results! You don’t want to have to pay for another test everytime you start another project.).
If your home tests positive for lead-based paint, you’re going to have to follow the new lead-safe rules and we strongly recommend that you work only with an EPA Certified Renovator.
What About Getting Multiple Bids For Repairs?
That is a very important question! Before you let any contractor on your property, make sure that he or she is an EPA Certified Renovator and insist on seeing a copy of his or her certificate. Also, verify that an EPA Certified Renovator will be on your jobsite ALL during the project. Nope! It won’t do any good to have someone back at the office with a certificate. A Certified Renovator needs to be on the job FULLTIME!
When comparing bids, it is very important you verify that fees for lead testing and hazardous waste characterization are included in each estimate. Make sure that fees for hazardous waste disposal are included because, by law, contractors cannot put hazardous lead waste in your household trash and they cannot leave these materials behind for you to take to the dumpster behind “Ralph’s Market”. DON’T DO THAT OR YOU WILL BE COMMITING A CRIMINAL ACT!
The main point I’m trying to make here is that you don’t want to become a victim of these new laws. Make sure that all rules and regulations are being followed, make sure that all fees are included and get everything in writing.
Thinking about starting a project and need help with these new regulations? At “Termite” Terry Pest Control, Inc., we are EPA Certified Renovators. and we’ll be glad to assist. Our estimates always include a detailed list of materials, fees and charges so that you’ll know exactly where you stand. The last thing you need is for a contractor to “lure you in” with an incomplete estimate and then later “stick you” with numerous extra charges, right?
Call “Termite” Terry Pest Control at (949) 631-7348
*Click the linked text to see a great video by Norm Abrams (New Yankee Workshop)
that demonstrates lead-safe practices.
*For more information, here is a link to the EPA’s lead-based paint renovations page;
*Thinking about buying, selling or leasing a home? Here are two great videos that you’ve got to see. After you watch the introductory video, look just below the video screen and you’ll see two video FAQ links – One for realtors and the other for property managers. We recommend that you watch both of them.
* Please note that these links refer to Federal EPA lead-safe standards. California has much stricter standards. Cal EPA requires that lead paint testing be done by a Certified Lead Inspector or a Certified Lead Risk Assessor, they require that construction debris be tested/characterized by a Certified Lab for proper disposal and they require that construction debris be transported and disposed of by a Certified Hazardous Waste Disposal Firm. As soon as California publishes new information, we will post this on our site to keep you fully informed.
We service the following cities in Orange County: Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, San Juan Capistrano and Tustin.