Changes on the horizon for dust-lead hazard standards

A white building mid-abatement preparation, with windows taped off, plastic covering on the ground, machinery in the background, and visibly peeling paint

Stricter regulations to support lead abatement

Regulatory agents are recognizing that there is no safe level of lead contamination. As part of the effort to mitigate risk accordingly, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a reduction to dust-lead hazard standards (DLHS). This would lower the threshold from 10 micrograms per square foot for floors and 100 micrograms per square foot for window sills to any reportable level, according to the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. 

If finalized as proposed, this will mean stricter standards and greater need for lead abatement. As with any regulatory change, the industry will need to adjust in order to remain compliant while best meeting stakeholders needs. We’re reporting on proposed changes and decoding what this all means for lead abatement workers, assessors, contractors and supervisors.

What do lead abatement professionals need to know?

Lowering DLHS will be another step closer to removing lead-based paint hazards from the places we frequent the most, namely residential and childcare facilities. It will also likely classify more facilities built before 1978 as having lead hazards requiring reporting, stabilization or abatement.

The EPA predicts that this change may “lead to an increase in abatement projects that may require additional cleaning in order to achieve post-abatement clearance.” In other words, lowering the accepted levels of lead will mean higher demand for certified inspections and abatement.

Yellow, white and black sign hanging on chainlink fence reads: CAUTION LEAD HAZARDDO NOT ENTER WORK AREA UNLESS AUTHORIZED

Increased demand often comes with an increase in government funding to assist with the necessary remediation efforts. For example, the Biden administration’s regulatory efforts to eradicate lead pipes included a $3 billion allocation to states, tribes and territories for lead service line replacement.

We at CHC Training expect to see a rise in opportunities for lead abatement specialists and assessors at every level. Accredited training programs promoting lead safe work practices will serve a crucial role equipping professionals to make the most out of these opportunities. Now is the time to pursue lead training and get ready to meet the need.

If the lower threshold is approved, current certificate holders must act to ensure work is to code. Lead abatement and testing professionals should also plan to get a head start on their next lead certification renewal (which you can do up to 17 months before the expiration date). The first step in that process is to take a one-day lead-abatement or testing refresher course.

Stay current & compliant

This upcoming rule change is one illustration of the complex regulatory landscape we work within. CHC is proud to be a reliable resource for our community, always looking ahead to keep our educational offerings current and help professionals and teams navigate changes like these.CHC is at the forefront of environmental and compliance training. Our CEO Danaya Wilson sits on the board of directors of the Environmental Information Association (EIA) and Colorado Environmental Professionals Association (CEPA), the largest environmental industry advocacy groups. As regulators work to make our built environment safer, we are actively engaged in policy and regulatory conversations.

Close-up photograph of white paint peeling off a wood wall

CHC Training is the only EPA and Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE)-approved and authorized lead abatement and inspection trainer. Being accredited at both the state/local and federal levels enables us to meet the training and certification needs of stakeholders all over the country (and the world).

A CHC student (seated) and instructor (standing) look at a textbook together

CHC Training offers courses for lead abatement workers as well as supervisors. In our hands-on lead training classes, instructors demonstrate real-world materials and equipment use. Students also get experience constructing a lead-safe containment.

Our lead inspector and lead risk assessor courses are designed specifically for people in these fields. We also offer a two-hour lead awareness course (available both in-person and online (English and Spanish)), which provides participants with a basic understanding of what lead is, where it’s found in buildings, the dangers of exposure, and what they can do to protect themselves.

Here are a some great resources to help you keep up with all of these changes:

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