Ask An Expert: What Is Lead RRP?

Building Health

Older homes bring decades of character, and it’s been said that the greenest home is one that’s already built. However, along with charming handcrafted details and that “lived in” feeling, older homes can present health problems if not properly addressed.

In 1978 the federal government banned the use of lead-based paint in homes after studies proved that lead is the cause of many health problems, particularly to children. Because of the dangers lead paint presents, in April 22, 2008, the EPA began requiring the use of lead-safe practices to prevent lead poisoning. Homeowners living in pre-1978 homes should ensure that only certified lead renovation, repair, and painting (RRP) contractors perform abatement work.

Southface is a great resource to not only find certified contractors, but also to receive lead RRP certification. Training in our state-the-art weatherization facility includes:

  • 8 classroom modules
  • Training materials and exam
  • Hands-on skills assessment
  • Review of the RRP rule
  • 25-question multiple choice test
  • Certificate of course completion
  • Continental breakfast and lunch
  • Free parking

Southface’s one-day lead RRP training is taught by EPA- and State of Georgia EPD-accredited trainers, like instructor Amelia Godfrey, Program Manager, EarthCraft. Here, Amelia explains about the importance of lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) and what coursetakers can expect to learn during the October 9 training session:

Approximately how many homes still contain lead-based paint?

Production of lead-based paint stopped in 1978, so it is assumed that any structure built prior to that date contains lead-based paint on at least one surface. A 2002 article from the Environmental Health Perspectives found that 38 million housing units across the country still contain lead-based paint.   

What dangers does lead pose in the home?

Surfaces painted with lead-based paint are only hazardous when there’s a chance that the paint may flake off and fall to the ground or get on hands and clothing. Building construction activities that create dust — like using power tools to cut, grind, or sand — will result in fine particles of lead paint becoming  airborne.

If these activities are not handled properly, the dust can spread throughout the home and even into HVAC equipment. Lead exposure impacts the human nervous system; extreme exposure can cause permanent damage to the nervous system and brain function. Smaller levels of exposure can cause headaches, irritability, fatigue, joint/muscle pain. The risks associated with lead exposure are greater to children, because their brain and nervous system are still developing.  

How do certified contractors safely remove and remediate lead-based paint in a building?

Lead-safe practices restrict the use of tools that will create high levels of dust, and containment practices to separate the work area from the rest of the home are implemented.

What can I expect to learn in Southface’s Lead RRP course?

The RRP course covers all of the regulations around work, related to pre-1978 buildings. This includes training requirements, which laws are applicable to different building uses and the required containment, work practices, cleaning and waste disposal criteria, and documentation.

After certification, what are my next steps?

All certified renovators must work with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to notify them that their training has been met and ensure that they are meeting all record keeping requirements.

Do I need to take a refresher course after I’m certified? If so, how often?  

Yes, your certification must be renewed every three years. Refresher courses completed prior to that expiration grant you renewal for another three years from the date of completion. In addition to initial training and certification courses, Southface provides Lead RRP refresher courses too.

Learn more and register for Southface’s Lead Safety for Renovation, Repair and Painting Certification Training.


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