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How to Remove Lead Paint Safely


Since Colonial Times lead was added to paint to improve durability, moisture resistance, fade resistance and as a coloring agent. Its use peaked in 1922 and began to be phased out by many paint manufacturers in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Finally, it was banned in 1978 for use in consumer goods and residential paint due to potential health concerns.

Lead is a potent neurotoxin and the developing brains of young children, under age six, put them most at risk. Health effects can include reduced IQ, reading difficulties, learning disabilities, behavior problems and even permanent damage to the nervous system.

Despite lead poisoning falling from over 88% of children in 1980 to less than .5% by 2008 the most common source of lead poisoning is dust from deteriorating paint or paint disturbed during renovation, remodeling, repairs, maintenance and repainting.

EPA Lead Paint Certification

Virtually any person who does any work or offers to perform work in most buildings built before 1978 is required to be EPA Lead Paint Certified. This includes contractors, handymen, remodelers, painters, plumbers, electricians, roofers, window and door installers, house flippers, landlords, property managers and maintenance staff just to name a few.

Homeowners working in their own, owner-occupied homes are not required to be certified or to use lead safe work practices. However, a rental property or a home that is being flipped is not exempt.

The Lead Paint Certification Class teaches simple, fast, effective and inexpensive ways to deal with lead paint safely. Because it is the dust, debris and paint chips that have the most potential to be harmful attendees discover the best ways to deal with lead paint by:

  • Minimizing the Dust that is Created
  • Containing what cannot be Prevented
  • Cleaning-Up what couldn’t be Contained


Does Lead Paint Have to be Removed?

There are no rules that require the complete removal of lead paint during normal renovations. In fact, sometimes it is more effective to prepare the surface using a penetrating, bonding, leveling primer. This allows you to minimize the dust creating prep like sanding and scraping while reducing cracking and peeling.


Step 1 – Minimize the Dust

There are three prohibited methods that must be avoided because they can generate large quantities of hazardous dust and fumes:

  1. Open flame burning and torching to remove paint.
  2. Heat guns over 1100*
  3. High speed paint removal equipment like sanders, grinders and power planers unless they are shrouded and hooked up to a HEPA vacuum.


Chemical stripping, misting with water prior to sanding, scraping or demolition and disassembly of components versus breaking them up are all methods that can be used to minimize the excessive creation of dust.


There are a wide range of tools and equipment that can be used including shrouded sanders and grinders, infrared paint removal systems, vacuum attached scrapers. These will all minimize the spread of dust.


Step 2 – Contain the Work Area

There are several simple steps to prevent the spread of dust and debris outside the work area.

  • Impermeable plastic must be put down on the floors where possible.
  • Furniture inside the work area must be moved or covered.
  • HVAC Vents must be covered and if possible, the HVAC system should be turned off.
  • Windows and doors inside the work area should be closed or sealed to prevent cross contamination.
  • Signs should be posted to keep people out of the work area.


Step 3 – Clean-Up the Work Area

Temporary clean-up should be done daily. The Final Clean Up must be thorough and complete. It must also be documented on the Post-Job Report you will receive in the class.

  • Bag up all debris to the extent possible.
  • Mist down the plastic on the floor.
  • HEPA Vacuum or Wet Clean all vertical surfaces.
  • HEPA Vacuum and Wet Clean all horizontal surfaces.
  • The Certified Renovator must perform a thorough Visual Inspection to ensure that all dust, debris and paint chips have been cleaned up.
  • Finally, the Certified Renovator perform a Cleaning Verification, which is very similar to a “white glove test” to ensure that even minute amounts of dust have been cleaned up.

In the Lead Paint Certified Renovator Class you will discover the best ways to meet these rules, protect yourself, your workers and residents.

You will discover what really works from experienced contractors and real estate investors who have successfully completed thousands of these jobs in the field.


How to get Lead Certified

Simply attend a One Day, Lead Paint Certification Class in Lead Safe Work-Practices. Upon completion you, and any other of your team who attend, will be Lead Certified Renovators.


What else would you like to know about Lead Paint?

What is Lead Based Paint
What is Lead Certification?
What is EPA Certification?
What is Lead Abatement?
How to Test for Lead Paint
What is RRP Certification?

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