Lead poisoning is a major, preventable environmental health problem for both children and adults. In children, it may cause developmental problems, lower IQ, behavioral problems, language delay, anemia, damage to the nervous system and other problems. High lead levels in adults can cause high blood pressure, headaches, memory problems, kidney damage, irritability, difficulty sleeping, nerve disorders, muscle or joint pain and damage to the reproductive system. Public health problems related to lead poisoning results in billions of dollars in health care costs to taxpayers and the government. Although bans on leaded gasoline and paint have greatly reduced the incidence of dangerous lead levels in children, many children are still at risk for damaging lead exposure. Lead paint and the related dust and chips are the leading cause of high lead levels in U.S. children.
Effective July 9, 2010, the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards ("DLS") (then Division of Occupational Safety "DOS") promulgated amendments to its Deleading and Lead-Safe Renovation Regulation, 454 CMR 22.00. These amendments establish safety standards for renovation, repair and painting work that disturbs lead paint in target housing and child-occupied facilities built before 1978, which parallel similar federal EPA requirements that became effective in April 2010 under the "Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule" (RRP Rule) intended to increase awareness of lead hazards that occur as a result of renovations. DLS received authorization from EPA to administer and enforce the lead safety standards for renovation, repair and painting work set forth in 454 CMR 22.00, in lieu of the federal standard being enforced by EPA in Massachusetts. This regulation applies to residential houses, apartments, and child-occupied facilities such as schools and day-care centers built before 1978.
The term " renovation" is broadly defined as any activity that disturbs painted surfaces and covers all activities performed for compensation that disturb painted surfaces including plumbing, electrical work, window replacement, weatherization and partial demolition of structures. The DLS regulation includes pre-renovation education requirements as well as training, licensure, and work practice requirements.
- Contractors, property managers, and others who perform renovations for compensation in residential houses, apartments, and child-occupied facilities built before 1978 are required to distribute a lead pamphlet to unit owners and adult occupants before starting work.
- Contractors and other entities are required to be licensed by DLS; their employees must be trained in the use of lead-safe work practices, and those lead-safe work practices must be followed to minimize occupants' exposure to lead hazards.