Questions & Answers Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Sections 402/404 EPA Lead Training and Certification Requirements
CONSUMER ISSUES AND PUBLIC IMPACTS
Q. What is the purpose of this rule?
A. EPA's new training and certification rule, mandated under sections 402 and 404 of TSCA, builds upon existing Federal and State efforts to protect families and their children from lead poisoning. The training and certification requirements contained in the rule will advance an infrastructure to ensure that: lead-based paint professionals are properly trained to conduct lead-based paint activities in residential dwellings and facilities regularly occupied by young children, such as day-care centers and pre-schools; lead-based paint inspections, risk assessments, and abatements are conducted reliably, safely, and effectively; and training providers are accredited and capable of providing quality instruction to lead professionals. The rule also recognizes the role of States and Indian Tribes in building this infrastructure. Under the rule, EPA expects that States and Indian tribes will apply to the Agency for federal approval to manage and administer their own training, accreditation and certification programs in lieu of the Federal program. The Model State Program portion of the rule establishes the procedures for authorizing State and Tribal programs.
Q. Is this a government requirement to remove lead-based paint from houses and day-care centers?
A. No. EPA's training and certification program does not require the removal, inspection or assessment of lead-based paint in homes, day-care centers, or other structures. Rather, through this rule, the EPA is establishing this training certification and accreditation program so that individuals or families that are concerned about selecting a professional for lead- based paint services can be confident that the contractors have the proper training to perform the work safely, reliably and effectively.
Q. Who is affected by this rule?
A. Affected parties include: 1) training providers seeking accreditation to provide instruction in the identification, assessment and removal of lead-based paint hazards, and 2) contractors that seek certification to conduct lead-based paint activities. Consumers will also be affected by the rule because they will gain greater access to professionals who have been trained and certified to safely, effectively and reliably address lead-based paint hazards.
Q. When does this rule take effect?
A. Because of the collaborative nature of the program with State and Tribal entities, there are several effective dates associated with today's rule. If States and Indian Tribes seek and receive EPA authorization to administer and enforce their own lead-based paint activities programs, the effective dates will be specified by the States and Indian Tribes. These dates may vary within a given State or Indian Tribe. However, in a State or Indian Tribe that does not receive authorization to run its own program, EPA will administer the program. To allow time for States and Indian Tribes to seek authorization from the Agency, the effective dates for the Federal program will not start until two years after publication of the rule. The following dates will apply: August 31, 1998: training programs that want to offer lead training or refresher courses may first apply to EPA for accreditation. March 1, 1999: All training programs that provide lead training or refresher training must be accredited, and individuals or firms that perform lead-based paint activities as defined in the rule may first apply to EPA for certification. August 30, 1999: no individual or firm can perform lead-based paint activities as defined in the rule without certification from EPA; and all lead-based paint activities as defined in the rule must be performed according to applicable work practice standards.
Q. What type of housing and other buildings are affected by this rule? What type of buildings are not affected by today's rule?
A. The sections 402/404 rule applies only to those individuals, firms and training providers involved in lead-based paint activities and training related to "target housing" and "child-occupied facilities." Target housing includes most private housing, public housing, housing receiving Federal assistance, and Federally owned housing built before 1978. Examples of child-occupied facilities include day-care centers, preschools and kindergarten classrooms. (Readers should consult the rule text for a complete definition of child-occupied facility.) The rule does not cover public or commercial buildings (except child-occupied facilities), superstructures or bridges. The Agency is continuing to develop options to establish training and certification requirements for individuals and firms working on these types of structures. Target housing does not include housing built after 1977 (because the Consumer Products Safety Commission banned the sale and distribution of lead-based paint to be used in housing in 1978), nor does it include "0-bedroom dwellings," (such as lofts, efficiencies, and studios) or housing designated for the elderly and the handicapped (unless children reside or are expected to reside there.)
Q. Why are "child-occupied facilities" included in the rule?
A. Because of the length of time that children spend in schools and day care centers, children face potentially equivalent (if not greater) risks from lead-based paint hazards there as they do at home. Indeed, some children spend more time in a particular classroom or day care room in a given day or week than they might spend in a single room in their homes. If that classroom contains a lead-based paint hazard, the children in it could be at risk. It is important to note that in a school, it is only the rooms in which children under 6 years of age spend time that will be affected by this rule---not the entire school.
Q. Who has to be certified?
A. The Federal lead training and certification program establishes five categories or disciplines of lead-based paint professionals: supervisors, workers, inspectors, risk assessors and project designers. The rule also defines three major types of lead-based paint activities: inspection, risk assessment and abatement. An individual who conducts inspection services must either be a certified inspector or a certified risk assessor. An individual who performs risk assessment services must be a certified risk assessor. The certification requirements for abatement activities depend on the type of work the individuals will be performing. For example, workers and supervisors are required to conduct the actual lead abatement work, while inspectors or risk assessors conduct the clearance testing, and supervisors or project designers must prepare occupant protection plans and abatement reports. States and Indian Tribes that receive authorization to run their own programs may have slightly different certification requirements.
Q. What is the purpose of an inspection? Of a risk assessment? Must I have both or either done before contracting for abatement work?
A. The purpose of an inspection is to determine, and then report on, the existence of lead-based paint through a surface-by-surface investigation of a residential dwelling or child-occupied facility---in other words---to identify the presence of lead in paint. An inspection does not include taking dust or soil samples. The purpose of a risk assessment is to determine the existence, nature, severity, and location of lead-based paint hazards in a residential dwelling or a child-occupied facility through an on-site investigation. A risk assessment incorporates several steps, namely: 1) the gathering of information regarding the age and history of the unit and occupancy by children, 2) a visual inspection, 3) sampling for lead in paint, dust and soil, and 4) the provision of a report explaining the results of the investigation. There is no requirement to conduct an inspection before a risk assessment or that either of these activities be conducted before abatement work is done. The rule merely requires that if these activities are conducted, then they must be conducted by the appropriately trained and certified individuals according to the work practice standards outlined in the rule.
Q. Is my home unsafe if it contains lead-based paint?
A. Approximately three-quarters of the nation's housing built before 1978 contains some lead-based paint. This paint, if properly managed and maintained, poses little risk. If disturbed or allowed to deteriorate, however, lead from paint and lead-contaminated dust and soil can threaten the health of occupants, especially children under 6 years old. If families and building owners are aware of the presence of lead-based paint and the proper actions to take, most lead-based paint hazards can be reduced or eliminated.
Q. Will I poison myself and my family if I eliminate lead-based paint hazards on my own?
A. There are exposure risks involved in handling lead-based painted surfaces so people should think carefully before trying to eliminate lead-based paint hazards on their own. When conducted improperly, abatement activities can generate significant amounts of lead-contaminated dust and debris that can pose a hazard to you and the occupants of the building. EPA strongly discourages individuals from conducting abatement activities on their own unless they have the training and equipment necessary to ensure the safety of themselves and their families. For individuals who want to oversee the work of renovation and remodeling professionals or who are involved in home improvement projects, the Agency offers the pamphlet: Reducing Lead Hazards When Remodeling Your Home, April 1994, EPA 747-R-94-002, available from the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD.
Q. What is the difference between abatement work and renovation work? Are both types of activities regulated by this rule?
A. In developing this rule, EPA was directed by Congress to focus this regulation on abatement activities, and to define abatements as those projects designed by the building owner and contractor to permanently eliminate lead-based paint hazards. Under this rule, only those activities which are undertaken with the purpose or intent of permanently eliminating lead-based paint hazards are considered to be abatement. Renovation and remodeling activities are not covered by the rule because they are not specifically designed to permanently eliminate lead-based paint hazards. However, the Agency recognizes that lead-based paint hazards may be caused by renovation and remodeling activities and is considering requirements for renovation and remodeling activities under a separate rulemaking effort.
Q. How much do inspections/abatements cost now? Will this rule increase the cost of existing lead contractor services?
A. The current industry inspection standards are generally the same as prescribed under the new training and certification program. Costs for inspection and risk assessment services, therefore, should not change as a result of this rule. While the cost for abatement activities vary widely in relation to the size of the building and the amount of lead-based paint present, EPA estimates that the average cost of an abatement is $7,300, of which approximately $250 would be attributable to the Federal training and certification program.
Q. What will be done to ensure that States and Indian Tribes implement certification programs?
A. The Agency has worked closely with the States and Indian Tribes to develop a program that is protective of human health and the environment, especially the health of children, while acknowledging the needs of States and Indian Tribes. The Agency believes that the Federal training and certification rule provides enough flexibility to States and Indian Tribes for them to implement their own programs while maintaining programs that are "as protective as" the Federal standard. In addition, States and Indian Tribes have received grant money from EPA and HUD over the past few years to develop their own programs. While EPA expects that most States and Indian Tribes will want to administer and enforce their own programs, the rule does not require that they do so. EPA will administer the program in those States and Indian Tribes that do not seek authorization to implement their own programs.
Q. Why is this rule necessary now? Hasn't lead poisoning largely been conquered already? Why is the Federal government focusing on lead-based paint when there are so many other basic housing problems?
A. The Agency is pleased by the progress that we've been able to make over the last 20 years of fighting childhood lead poisoning. Since the 1970's, blood lead levels in children have dropped by 70 percent. Much of this reduction is the result of past Federal action to phase-out lead in gasoline and to eliminate the use of lead solder in food cans. But studies tell us that more than 1.7 million children - one out of eleven - still have levels of lead in their bodies that may pose health concerns. This rule builds on the successes that we have already had by targeting the remaining major sources of lead in our communities: deteriorating or disturbed lead-based paint, lead-contaminated dust, and lead-contaminated soil. Unlike some other household hazards, lead-based paint is not always something that parents can identify themselves. Given the health impacts from lead exposure and the power that information has in helping families avoid lead-poisoning, we believe that this is an example of the way that the Federal government can work with individuals and commercial businesses to help protect children from being lead poisoned in their own homes and child-care facilities. Questions & Answers Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Sections 402/404 EPA Lead Training and Certification Requirements
Q. What does a training provider have to do to become accredited?
A. Training providers must present information demonstrating that they will use qualified instructors and EPA approved curricula for the lead-based paint activities courses, and that they have a plan in place to ensure the quality of instruction they provide. States and Indian Tribes that receive authorization to run their own programs may have slightly different accreditation requirements. The sections 402/404 rule contains detailed requirements for the accreditation application process. For more detail, training providers should consult the rule text to obtain a thorough understanding of the accreditation application requirements.
Q. Do I need some sort of special education or background to be trained for any of the disciplines in the lead hazard reduction field? What about to become certified?
A. There are no prerequisites to be trained. However, there are education and/or experience prerequisites for certification. The education and/or experience prerequisites for certification vary for the different lead-based paint professional disciplines included in the sections 402/404 rule. For example: INSPECTORS and WORKERS: no experience or education requirements; SUPERVISORS: one year of experience as a certified lead-based paint abatement worker, OR at least two years of experience in a related field (such as lead, asbestos, or environmental remediation work), or in the building trades; RISK ASSESSORS: a Bachelor degree and 1 year of experience in a related field (e.g., lead, asbestos, environmental remediation work, or construction), OR an Associate degree and 2 years experience in a related field (e.g., lead, asbestos, environmental remediation work, or construction); OR certification as an industrial hygienist, professional engineer, registered architect and/or certification in a related engineering/health/environmental field (e.g. safety professional, environmental scientist); OR a high school diploma (or equivalent), and at least 3 years of experience in a related field (e.g., lead, asbestos, environmental remediation work or construction). PROJECT DESIGNERS successful completion of an accredited training course for supervisors, AND a Bachelor's degree in engineering, architecture, or a related profession, and 1 year of experience in building construction and design or a related field; OR four years of experience in building construction and design or a related field. Readers interested in the specific requirements should consult the rule text in section 745.226. Note that States and Indian Tribes that receive authorization to run their own programs may have slightly different certification requirements.
Q. If I get certified in another State and my State subsequently passes its own training and certification program, will I automatically be certified to work in my state? Will there be reciprocity among states?
A. No, you will not automatically be certified to work in your own state. You will have to go through a process in your own state to become certified. Since the certification process may vary somewhat from state to state, it is difficult to say exactly what you will have to do. You may have to take additional training on specific requirements of your state's program, take an exam on your state's regulations, pay an additional fee to become certified, or you may only have to complete certain paperwork because your state accepts the program in which you were certified. However, EPA is actively promoting reciprocity agreements between States and Indian Tribes. When EPA approves a State or Tribal program, it is making a finding that that program meets some basic criteria and deems that the State or Tribal program is "at least as protective as" the Federal program. EPA believes that this and the national certification exam will help to promote reciprocity among States and Indian Tribes.
Q. If I have already taken the course work required for certification, will I be able to be grandfathered into the Federal program? Will I need to get additional training? How long will the training period be? Will I need to renew it periodically?
A. In general, if you received training in a lead-based paint activity after October 1, 1990, you will be grandfathered in under the Federal program. In that case, you would have to demonstrate that you have successfully completed training, that you meet the experience and/or education requirements (if applicable for your discipline), have taken the necessary refresher training, and have passed a certification exam, where necessary. Refresher training varies in length from 4 hours for a project designer to 8 hours for the other 4 disciplines: worker, inspector, risk assessor, and supervisor. Recertification is required every 3 years for those individuals taking a training course with a course test and a hands-on assessment and every 5 years for individuals completing a training course with a proficiency test.
Q. How long will the certification be valid? Will there be re-training and recertification requirements at some point?
A. For the Federal program, recertification is required every 3 years for those individuals taking a training course with a course test and a hands-on assessment and every 5 years for individuals completing a training course with a proficiency test. Recertification requires the successful completion of an accredited refresher course in the appropriate discipline. States and Indian Tribes that receive authorization to run their own programs may have slightly different recertification requirements.
Q. What is the likely demand for lead inspectors and risk assessors given the new lead disclosure law?
A. While the Federal disclosure program does not require that property owners conduct inspections or risk assessments before sales or leasing transactions, EPA expects that as more families become aware of the importance of proper management of lead-based paint in their housing, the demand for qualified evaluation professionals will increase. EPA and HUD are encouraging families to look for "lead-safe housing," not necessarily lead-based paint free housing. In that vein, the Federal government believes that risk assessments may be especially valuable services to consumers since they will help consumers make informed home maintenance decisions.
Q. Is there special training available for lead waste disposal issues? Is this issue covered in any of the Sections 402/404 paint evaluation or reduction disciplines?
A. Lead-based paint disposal issues are covered in the required course curricula for both supervisors and workers. In these courses students will learn the current Federal and state regulations and management practices for these wastes.