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NARI stresses lead poisoning prevention

DES PLAINS, ILL. -- The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is helping to raise awareness of the dangers of lead exposure by observing National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) Oct. 24 to 30. In light of the new law mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), called Lead Renovation, Repair, Painting Rule (LRRP), this year's efforts are even more worthwhile to encourage consumers to hire lead certified remodelers when remodeling a home built prior to 1978.
"National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is an important way to raise awareness on an issue that affects the remodeling industry and millions of homeowners," NARI National President Paul Zuch, CR, of Capital Improvements in Dallas, Texas, said. "Together, remodelers and homeowners can reduce the number of children with lead exposure and prevent those who have been exposed from suffering from lead's devastating health effects."
NARI, along with week organizers Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the EPA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, are assisting in promotion of this year's NLPPW theme, "Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future." According to the CDC, childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children, yet an estimated 250,000 U.S. children have elevated blood-lead levels.
Since April 22, the EPA placed the LRRP rule into effect and by the end of this year, contractors must go through an eight-hour training to certify at least one person to supervise the renovation of target housing (pre-1978) homes, and the contracting firm must be a certified firm with the EPA if they intend to work in pre-1978 homes.
In honor of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Oct. 24 to 30, NARI is providing this checklist to minimize lead exposure for homeowners living in pre-1978 homes:
  • Verify that your contractor's firm is registered with the EPA unless your state has taken over their own lead safety program, in which case the certification process may be slightly different. To find out if your state is working under its own lead program, visit http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm#authorized .
  • Verify at least one person is a certified renovator and has documented the training of the work crew and is supervising the work being completed in the home.
    Know that these certifications must be accessible at the work site at all times.
  • Firms must post signs before renovation begins, clearly defining the work area and warning occupants and other persons not involved in renovation activities to remain outside of the work area.
  • Make sure you understand and sign the EPA's "Renovate Right" brochure.
  • Remove all belongings from the immediate area of the renovation.
  • Notice if your contractor is using plastic sheeting that is taped 6 feet beyond the perimeter of surfaces undergoing renovation; reusable cloth coverings are not acceptable.
  • Renovators should be cleaning up and mopping daily to minimize dust contamination.
  • Contractors must use HEPA vacuums and/or wet mopping to remove lead particles.
  • All contaminated materials should be placed in heavy duty plastic bags before your contractor disposes of them.

To learn more about testing your child's lead levels, testing your home for lead for lead or preventing health effects related to lead exposure visit http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/nlppw.htm.
To find a NARI remodelers who is also a lead certified renovator, visit www.nari.org. Log on to www.nariremodelers.com to find a specialized remodeler in your area. For green remodeling information, please visit www.greenremodeling.org.
About NARI: The National Association of the Remodeling Industry: (NARI) is the only trade association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry. The association which represents more than 8,200 member companies nationwide comprised of 63,000 remodeling contractors is "The Voice of the Remodeling Industry." To locate a local NARI chapter or a remodeling professional, visit NARI's Web site at www.nariremodelers.com, or contact the national headquarters, based in Des Plaines, Illinois, at 800-611-NARI.