The U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) announced that Delaware has become the first state in the Mid-Atlantic Region authorized by the EPA to administer and enforce the lead-based paint Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Program, previously administered by the Federal government.

“Delaware is to be congratulated for this significant commitment to providing greater protection to children in our local communities,” says EPA regional administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “This is an important step in our shared goal of protecting children from the hazards of lead-based paint.”

Nearly 50 percent of homes in Delaware were built prior to 1978, the year that lead-based paint was banned for residential use.

“We wanted to take action to prevent lead exposure in children, rather than react when a lead-poisoned child is identified,” says Dr. Karyl Rattay, director, Delaware Division of Public Health. “Requiring renovators, property managers, electricians, plumbers and builders to use lead-safe work practices is a proven formula for reducing lead poisoning in children and workers.”

Anyone receiving compensation for renovating, repairing and painting work that disturbs painted surfaces in residences built before 1978 is subject to the LRRP. Contractors must receive the necessary training and become certified from an EPA-accredited training provider and ensure that lead safe work practices are used throughout the project.

Firms and employees that disturb more than six square feet of painted surfaces in interiors and 20 square feet on the exterior must be trained by an accredited training provider and licensed by the Delaware Division of Public Health. Landlords who perform their own repairs fall under the definition of a firm and must be certified.

Delaware joins 14 states nationwide that have committed to administering the LRRP Program, which was established in 2010.

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