Lead Inspection and Management

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood lead poisoning is "the most common environmental disease of young children."  Lead is highly toxic and affects virtually every system of the body.  At low levels lead's neurotoxic effects have the greatest impact on children's developing brains and nervous systems, causing reductions in IQ, decreased attention span, reading and learning disabilities, hyperactivity and behavioral problems.

The foremost cause of childhood lead poisoning in the United States today is ingestion of lead-based paint and the accompanying contaminated dust and soil found in or around older houses.  The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that three-quarters of pre-1980 housing units contain some lead-based paint.  Fully 90 percent of privately owned units built before 1940, 80 percent of units built between 1940 and 1959, and 62 percent of units built between 1960 and 1979 contain some lead-base paint.

The belief that in order to be poisoned, children must eat lead-based paint chips is unfounded.  The most common cause of poisoning is the ingestion--through hand-to-mouth transmission of lead-contaminated surface dust.  Leaded dust is generated as lead-based paint deteriorates over-time, is damaged by moisture, abraded on friction surfaces and impact surfaces, or distributed in the course of renovations, repair or abatement projects.  Lead contaminated dust may be so fine that it cannot be seen by the naked eye and can be difficult to clean up.

There are a number of regulations promulgated in the United States to control the release of lead to the environment and that protect workers from the harmful effects of occupational lead exposures.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in consultation with the HUD, have published rules on lead abatement and certification, lead-based paint residential disclosure, and renovation, repair and painting.

Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips by disturbing lead-based paint, which can be harmful to adults and children.  To protect against this risk, on April 22, 2008 the EPA issued a rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices (Lead; Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program, 40 CFR Part 745) aimed at preventing lead poisoning.  Under the rule, beginning April 22, 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow work practices to prevent lead contamination.

Additionally, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Air Pollution Control Division is responsible for developing and implementing lead certification and abatement regulation for child occupied facilities and target housing, as mandated by state statute (25-5-1101 C.R.S. et seq.).  The statute governs the inspection and assessment of lead-based paint and lead-based hazards, lead contaminated soil, lead contaminated dust and the abatement of lead-based paint hazards.

ETS provides Colorado State certified Lead Inspectors and Risk Assessors to perform renovation specific surveys or comprehensive Lead-Based Paint building inspections.  Our surveys are conducted using a portable XRF device to determine the lead content of the paint, varnished, and/or stained surfaces.  ETS' lead services guide our clients through complicated state and federal regulatory requirements pertaining to lead-based paint abatement and renovation projects.