EPA Lead Paint Certified Contractor A new federal regulation that took effect in April requires all contractors who perform renovations on buildings constructed before 1978 to become trained and EPA-certified. Mr. Handyman locations around the country have led the way in completing the certification process.

Kenneth Dunn, owner of Mr. Handyman in Owings Mills, Md., was quoted about this in an article in The Baltimore Sun. "The procedures are not overkill; it's what's needed to assure the environment is lead-free," Dunn said. "My concern is the thousands of contractors out there who won't comply with this. People will think they got a great price. But at what cost?"

A small amount of paint dust can potentially cause a serious problem, especially in young children and pregnant women. According to the EPA, even a small amount of lead paint dust - as little as one-millionth of a gram in a square-foot area - creates a hazardous condition.

Painting and Staining

Uncontained lead paint dust can cause permanent brain and nervous system damage, reduced intelligence, reading or leaning difficulties, hyperactivity, high blood pressure, and fatigue, according to the EPA. That's why Don Kummick, owner of Mr. Handyman of northeast Marion and western Hancock counties in Indiana, is so serious about becoming trained and certified.

"You have to look at it from the perspective of the inherent dangers of lead," Kummick told The Indianapolis Star. "You want to take the necessary precautions to protect the workers, the homeowners, the children."

For more information, and to download an EPA brochure, go to www.epa.gov/lead.

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