New Certification: EPA Lead-Based Risk Assessor
In internal news, P.W. Grosser can now offer EPA-certified inspections and assessments for lead-based risks.
Lead paint is serious business, and was still being used in home construction as late as 1978. Lead poisoning can occur when lead dust is inhaled or ingested. Lead interferes with the normal function of the body and is extremely toxic to the bones, heart, kidneys and nervous system—including the brain. Millions of U.S. workers are exposed to lead in the workplace, and workers in industries such as construction/demolition, pipe fitters and welders, jewelers, printers and battery manufacturers face an increased risk.
The Risk is Higher for Child-Occupied Facilities
Eliminating potential sources of lead poisoning is of extra-critical importance in child-occupied facilities. Over 300,000 children in the U.S. aged 1-5 have elevated blood lead levels, which can accumulate over the months and years and cause serious health and developmental problems. These dangers also apply to women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. Lead inspection and lead risk assessment are useful first steps which can lead to more thoughtful decisions on managing lead paint and lead hazards.
For many years, pipes, plumbing fixtures and soldering contained lead. Today, even “lead-free” plumbing materials may contain up to 8% lead. As plumbing materials corrode, lead particles can be released into the water. Only use cold tap water for drinking and cooking.
What type of lead assessments can we offer?
Lead-based paint inspections are surface-by-surface inspections that determine the presence or absence of lead-based paint in a home or child-occupied facility. Inspections can be legally performed only by certified inspectors or risk assessors. These assessments are particularly helpful in determining whether lead-based paint is present prior to purchasing, renting, or renovating a home, and identifying potential sources of lead exposure at any time.
A risk assessment is another kind of on-site investigation that determines the presence, type, severity, and location of lead-based paint hazards (including lead hazards in paint, dust, and soil) and provides suggested ways to control them. Risk assessments can be legally performed only by certified risk assessors. Lead-based paint risk assessments are particularly helpful in determining sources of current exposure and in designing possible solutions.
You can also have a combined inspection and risk assessment. With any of these options, the risk assessor or inspector will provide you with a written report of findings.
Lead abatement is an activity designed to permanently eliminate lead-based paint hazards. Abatement is sometimes ordered by a state or local government, and can involve specialized techniques not typical of most residential contractors.
The EPA requires individuals and firms who perform abatement projects in pre-1978 target housing and child-occupied facilities to be certified and follow specific work practices.
What does the certification process entail?
Certified lead-based paint risk assessors may perform inspection, post-abatement clearance, lead hazard screen, and risk assessment activities. The course prepares students to perform on-site inspection, take samples or guide an Inspector Technician in taking samples, determine the severity of lead hazards and develop options for actions to eliminate those hazards. Requirements for certification include:
- Pass an accredited inspector course.
- Pass an EPA-accredited risk assessor course.
- Pass the EPA risk assessor certification exam.
- Meet one of the following requirements:
- Bachelor’s degree and 1 year of experience in a related field, or
- an Associates degree and 2 years experience in a related field; or
- Certification as an industrial hygienist, professional engineer, registered architect and/or
- Certification in a related engineering/health/environmental field, or
- A high school diploma (or equivalent), and at least 3 years of experience in a related field.