Welcome to RRPedia
Your Interactive Resource for EPA RRP Information

RRPedia logoLooking for accurate information about the EPA RRP rule?

RRPedia has been created by Shawn McCadden to help remodelers and others affected by the New EPA Renovation Repair and Painting Rule. 

Please read RRPedia Use and Contribution Information before using or contributing to RRPedia.


You Can Browse For RRP Topics By Using The Tags List To The Right

RRP Rule: Is it a Sheep in Wolf's Clothing?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, May 23, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

RRP Rule: Is it a Sheep in Wolf's Clothing?

Joe Levitch


One Person’s Opinion: This is a guest blog submitted by Joe Levitch of Levco Builders to express his opinion.  Joe is a remodeling contractor and he is also a Licensed Lead Inspector, Licensed Risk assessor  and the owner of Lead Locators, a lead inspection firm in Boise Idaho. He comments and contributes to RRPedia quite often.  If you would like to express your opinion or offer something of value for RRPedia visitors let me know.


Is RRP a Sheep in Wolf's Clothing?

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?

It has been 2 years now and the EPA's RRP rule has been an enigma to deal with. What I envisioned as game changing regulation has turned out to be a sheep in wolfs clothing. I expected a year of educating the public through infomercials and campaigns, Then some head turning enforcement. Sadly I was and have been consistently disappointed. I expected my fellow remodelers to understand intuitively that the old days of dusty demolition were over and adopt the new rules, but there I go again over estimating my industry.

Resistance to change seems to dominate

Turns out remodelers like everyone else wants to do as little as possible and get by. Change is painful I suppose, most would rather spend energy disputing scientific facts than getting their act together and incorporating lead testing and LSWP into their SOP'S.

I have talked till blue in the face about the federal law and the mandate that RRP imposed back in April of 2010 but in my little hamlet of Boise Idaho there has been no known enforcement. I do see a trend however in the industry. We are getting a few more requests to verify contractors are using Best Practices when LSWP is in process. I am also getting an up tic in the number of test requests for lead testing, so the news is not all bad.

OSHA Lead in Construction


There have been a few reports of fines, but they are not close to home or particularly relevant to the remodeling industry. Most are for failure to use the Renovate Right Booklet. OSHA has become a bit more worrisome to contractors than it used to be. Their requirements are far more burdensome and onerous. I seriously doubt many remodeling firms are in compliance with their rules.

Lead Awareness Committee

Contractors are "Leaded-Out"

I still sense a general disdain for the RRP rule along with general confusion, but a reluctant sluggish move towards compliance.

I set up a Lead Awareness committee for my NARI group and after an enthusiastic push to get everyone up to date and compliant, I was told to back off with the education and speakers " We are a little leaded-out right now"

I have had no problem explaining to my clients that lead testing saves money. Perhaps it is just the delivery I use? Doing leaded work has been difficult. I can see how one can develop heat exhaustion or worse in little or no time. Monitor your folks for hydration and schedule cooling off time.

On testing and the Opt-Out

I am saddened by remodeling organizations asking congress to repeal RRP or allow opt out. It is a huge step backwards. Having swabs check for lead in drywall and plaster was a foolish thing to allow too. I read that there is a 98% false positive when used in this way. That is why the EPA could care less. (Click here for clarity on false positives)

The swabs test for the presence of lead. We don't need to do LSWP unless there is over 1mg/cm 2.  3M is laughing all the way to the bank, homeowners and contractors alike are using LSWP unnecessarily in many cases now.

XRF GunMy advice to every remodeler is to find a company with an XRF that can do a test and produce a report that can be used as a tool to deal with lead above the regulatory limit. Get fluent in using LSWP. Check each other to make sure no one is poisoning their clients or their pets and lets be professional about it.

My company has teamed up with some painters that are certified firms and have done testing on all proposed renovations on all pre '78 homes. Many of them are leaded, most have only a few components that require LSWP. We have also had tiles tested and found a many of them to be leaded in a very high percentage. I believe tile should be assumed to be leaded and demolished with care.

Let's do the right thing

In closing I applaud those that have incorporated RRP into their business. The EPA has been looking into new ways to track compliance and performing enforcement. I encourage those that are resisting change to get on board before the EPA fines you, or worse, you make someone sick.  Ask those of us that are dealing with the rule how we have managed and let's set ourselves apart from our competition by doing the right thing.

Topics: Opt Out Related, Guest Blogs, OSHA Considerations, Opinions from Renovators, Lead Test Kits and Testing, Enforcement and Inspections

RRP Experts? Be Careful When Searching For RRP Information and Advice

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Apr 15, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

 RRP Experts?  Be Careful When Searching The Internet For RRP Information and Advice

Dean Lovvorn, lead inspector



Guest Blogger:  Dean Lovvorn is a residential remodeler who has done numerous RRP projects.  He is also a Lead Inspector, Lead Risk Assessor and EPA RRP Renovator Instructor. He is well informed about the RRP rule and it's history.



RRP Experts?

Bring up EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule around a group of contractors and the sparks will begin flying.  The debate can get as heated as discussing politics.  In fact, politics often gets brought into the discussion.  Everyone has an opinion and many times those opinions are portrayed as facts.  I’ve jumped into these dog fights and often times the line between fact and fiction become blurred.

Misinformation about RRPThere have been some discussions where a particular contractor talks about how RRP is impossible to follow; only to find out the contractor has never done an RRP job … or even taken the course.  Others talk about how they don’t need anyone to tell them how to clean up after a lead based paint project.  Yet, they have never done a lead dust test to see if they really are cleaning up correctly.  One contractor talked about how his employees were safe working around lead paint, but had never done air monitoring to see if it was true.  Once, I had a contractor tell me I was doing risk assessment wrong.  Yep … you guessed it.  He never had done a risk assessment, taken a risk assessor course or even taken a lead safe work practice class of any type.

I’m sure as a professional contractor you’ve had a homeowner question how you were doing something and make suggestions to you.  Amazingly, just because they watch do-it-yourself programs on TV … they start believing that they have some expertise in the subject.


Opinions vs. Facts...

There is a phenomenon called “backfire”, recently discovered by political scientist.  In an article written by Joe Keohane on Boston.com, he writes …

“Most of us like to believe that our opinions have been formed over time by careful, rational consideration of  facts and ideas, and that the decisions based on those opinions, therefore, have the ring of soundness and intelligence”.  “In reality, we often base our opinions on our beliefs, which can have an uneasy relationship with facts”.  “And rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept”.  “They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions”.  “Worst of all, they can lead us to uncritically accept bad information just because it reinforces our beliefs”.  “This reinforcement makes us more confident we’re right, and even less likely to listen to any new information”.

RRP Education and trainingThe reality is an expert is someone who has education and experience in the subject being discussed.  I like how Wikipedia states it … “experts have a prolonged or intense experience through practice and education in a particular field”.

You would do yourself a great favor, if you find a mentor, coach or expert to learn from … even if they disagree with you.


Looking for a Mentor or Coach to help you with RRP and or your business?  Contact Shawn today to personally discuss your goals and how he can help.


Topics: New Business Realities, Mentoring/Coaching, Guest Blogs, Opinions from Renovators

Guest Blog: New Understandings About The Required RRP Work Practices

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Mar 20, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

Making RRP Easier - New Understandings About RRP Work Practices


Dean Lovvorn, lead inspector



Guest Blogger:  Dean Lovvorn is a residential remodeler who has done numerous RRP projects.  He is also a Lead Inspector, Lead Risk Assessor and EPA RRP Renovator Instructor. 

This blog post is a follow-up to a previous RRPedia Guest Blog where Dean listed several differences between the work practices taught in the required Certified Renovator class and what he found is actually required in the RRP rule.


Making RRP Easier - New Understandings About RRP Work Practices

RRP ideas



Back in April 2010, I had an exterior remodeling job that was put on hold for a day because of heavy rains.  In my boredom, I decided to read the actual RRP law from start to finish.  I soon discovered that what I was taught in my 8 hour class and what was in the student manual wasn’t necessarily in the actual law itself.     


I was probably dozing off in the 8 hour renovator class, but after these discoveries, I began to clarify some new understandings.

  • On exterior containment set-ups, all I really needed to do was put plastic on the ground, be sure windows & doors were closed, cover any doors within 20 feet with plastic and put out a warning sign.  If there are no doors and/or windows within 20 feet, simply put plastic on the ground and a warning sign up.  Nothing else needed.
  • On interior containment set-ups, I just needed to do the same as the exterior (except 6 feet out from where I was working).  If there were no furniture/objects or ducts within the 6 foot area … I didn’t have to go any further.  Be sure to tape down the plastic on the floor.

Of course, if I was doing some really dusty work, I made the containment (work area) larger, but other than that, it was pretty quick, easy and simple if you were to ask me.


Following are some examples of how reading the actual law has helped me.

Siding Replacement

RRP Vertical containmentIn this example, I would place 3.5 mil plastic (from Home Depot), instead of the 6 mil plastic 10 feet out on the ground.  Then, I would make sure doors/windows were closed, put plastic over any doors and then put up the warning sign.  I would also run a plastic runner out to the dumpster and surround the ground around the dumpster with plastic.  Doing the containment this way, saves me from having to wrap, bag or HEPA vac the siding (or myself).  This is because I can dump the siding without ever going outside the containment area.

If exterior vertical containment is needed a simple solution (pictured to right) can be done.

Replacing Door Slabs

If my job is to replace 15 door slabs, I simply do this without following RRP.  This is because the only area I am disturbing on each door is the hinge area and since it falls under the Minor Repair and Maintenance Activities, RRP is not required.  This insight came from the FAQ section of the EPA web site.

Bathroom Remodel (Total Gut)

RRP Work Area Containment for a BathroomI can demo the tile, tub, shower, toilet and remove the demolition debris without doing any RRP.  After that has been done, I cover up ducts with plastic,  make sure windows are closed, close doors and cover with plastic, put up a warning sign and then cover the subfloor with plastic (6 feet out from where I will be working). 

I put the demoed walls, cabinets and trim into trash cans (with lids on top) and HEPA vac the outside of the trash cans (along with myself) before taking them out of the containment area.

Note:  If I’m lucky and there is an exit door (to the outside) close by … I could run plastic to the door, then outside to the dumpster.  This way, I wouldn’t need to worry about containing the demolition debris.

Normally, I do the final clean-up, visual inspection and cleaning verification after demolition; so that I can officially end RRP and let non-certified electricians/plumbers/sub-contractors into the work area.



Selling RRPIt very well could be that if you did a little homework by reading the actual law, you could reduce the cost of compliance on many jobs to less than 5%.  Few contractors will lose a job because they are higher by less than 5%.  Plus, with the cost less than 5%, I don’t even mention RRP to my clients during the estimation process anymore, which has helped to improve sales. 


Topics: Sales Considerations, Production Considerations, Guest Blogs, Subcontractor Considerations, Opinions from Renovators, Compliance Options, EPA RRP for Dummies, Work Practices, Containment Considerations

Guest Blog: RRP Opt-Out, Don’t Hold Your Breath...

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Mar 18, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

Guest Blog: RRP Opt-Out, Don’t Hold Your Breath...

Dean Lovvorn, RRP Trainer, lead inspector




BIO:  Dean Lovvorn is a residential remodeler who has done numerous RRP projects.  He is also a Lead Inspector, Lead Risk Assessor and EPA RRP Renovator Instructor.


RRP Opt-Out, Don’t Hold Your Breath...

There has been a lot of chatter about the recent Lead Reduction Amendments Act of 2012, where the Senate bill proposes to return the Opt-Out to the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule.  You can find this topic on most every contractor message board.  The bill was introduced by Senator Inhofe (R-OK) and is co-sponsored by several other republicans.  NARI, NAHB, and many other contractor organizations have praised the efforts of Senator Inhofe.

The big question, is should contractors get their hopes up?

The Probabilities

Senator Inhofe RRP AmendmentThe first thing you should consider is that all bills introduced must first go to committee.  The second thing you should realize is that the vast majority of bills introduced … will never get out of committee review and thus, will never get a chance to be voted on.  Thirdly, even if the bill gets voted on, it must be approved by the majority of Senators (in this bill’s case).  Lastly, even if passed by the Senate; the House & President must approve.

It is a long uphill battle.  You also need to realize that most bills introduced are simply grand standing.  A way to get attention and show those who give money to your campaign or vote you into office … that you are doing something. 

Where RRP Came From

Lead Reduction Amendments Act of 2012The grandparent of RRP is Title X of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992, also known as the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 (Title X).  The grandparents gave birth to the parent of RRP, Title IV—Lead Exposure Reduction, which amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

What is not often talked about is where “Section 402(c)(3) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires EPA to regulate renovation or remodeling activities in target housing (most pre-1978 housing), pre-1978 public buildings, and commercial buildings that create lead-based paint hazards“.  The RRP falls under the TSCA, Section 402 (c)(3).


Tebow praysTo put it simply, we need to come to grips that the RRP is most likely going to be required on public and commercial buildings.  Public and commercial buildings have adults in them.  Would it make sense to Opt-Out adults in target homes, but not Opt-Out adults in public and commercial buildings?  Unfortunately, the answer is most likely not.

So for those who are hoping for the Opt-Out to return, prayers may be in order.  It may be the only thing that has a chance.


Topics: EPA RRP Rule Updates, Opt Out Related, RRP History, Guest Blogs, Opinions from Renovators, Amendments

Guest Blog: The RRP Training Suggests More Than The Rule Requires

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Mar 16, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

Guest Blog: Making RRP Easier – The RRP Training Suggests Doing Way More Than The Rule Requires

Dean Lovvorn




Guest Blogger: Dean Lovvorn is a residential remodeler who has done numerous RRP projects.  He is also a Lead Inspector, Lead Risk Assessor and EPA RRP Renovator Instructor.


Making RRP Easier – The RRP Training Suggests Doing Way More Than The Rule Requires

RRP work Practices


Back in April 2010, I had an exterior remodeling job that was put on hold for a day because of heavy rains.  In my boredom, I decided to read the actual RRP law from start to finish.  Honestly, it was like watching paint dry (incredibly boring). 

However, as I continued reading, I soon discovered that what I was taught in my 8 hour class and what was in the student manual wasn’t necessarily in the actual law itself.



My Discoveries - In the actual law I found:

  1. RRP RespiratorThere was no mention of having to wear disposable suits, dust mask, booties or headwear. (Still might need to comply with OSHA)
  2. That I didn’t have to put construction debris in a heavy duty plastic bag.  I had to at final clean-up, but not when taking out demolition debris.
  3. There was no requirement to put plastic over windows.
  4. That there was no mention of putting yellow warning tape at 20 feet out on exterior jobs.
  5. That on many jobs, the only paperwork required was a signed receipt of the Renovate Right booklet and completing the record keeping checklist.  This takes me about 5 minutes to do.
  6. Homeowners ignoring RRP RuleIt didn’t say I had to use 6 mil plastic, which made me happy since the 3.5 mil plastic sold at Home Depot cost less.
  7. I didn’t have to mention (if I didn’t want to) anything about RRP during my sales presentations or while giving estimates.  This was especially helpful, because clients don’t want to hear about being lead poisoned … they want to hear about their beautiful renovation.

Watch for Dean's next guest blog where he describes the work practices he now uses to make RRP easier at the job site

Topics: Production Considerations, Guest Blogs, Opinions from Renovators, Certified Renovator Training, Compliance Options, EPA RRP for Dummies, Work Practices, Containment Considerations

Guest Blog: Weighing In On The RRP Opt Out

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Mar 08, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

Guest Blog: Weighing In On The RRP Opt Out

Peter Lawton


Guest Blogger: Peter Lawton had his first lead safe training in 1997 while operating his design/build remodeling firm designPLUS in the greater Boston area. Today he is the founder and senior principle trainer for LeadSMART Training Solutions which trains contractors in areas of lead remodeling and OSHA safety standards. His classes are held throughout New England as well as occasionally on the west coast as well.  Peter can be reached at peter@leadsmarttraining.com or visit his training schedule at www.leadsmarttraining.com .


Opt Out..... Weighing In

Opinions about RRP opt outBoth sides of this issue have valid points to consider. Before we make rash decisions have we looked at the entire picture? We can do better than our politicians, but we must think before we act.

Isn't it a bit odd that months before an election some politician comes out of the woodwork and puts forth this bill? Where was this senator a year ago? How much research and thought went into addressing the bigger picture? Are we being used again as pawns by tapping our emotions and not our intelligence for votes? Do you really feel this is all that stands between you and having enough work?


Here are a few questions/comments I believe this bill ignores:

  • Lead in ConstructionWhether the Opt Out comes back or not, what about the employees of the firms who intend on using this option? Did anyone ask those who are actually doing the work how they feel about their health risks? Will they have a voice without retaliation?
  • Is OSHA going to come up with a "you must protect your workers’ health UNLESS the customer gave you permission to work unprotected" clause? My bet is OSHA will stand firm on 1926.62 (Lead in Construction). In fact, if you have employees, EPA is irrelevant with whatever they decide to do.
  • How about extending the OPT OUT to state that the homeowner releases his or her civil right to sue the contractor should anything go wrong?
  • For those of you who think this is all BS, how about signing a waiver that says my tax dollars won’t be used to pay for related health care for you, your family, your workers or your clients who might get sick due to the work you perform?
  • If any of you perform HUD work, do you really feel they will buckle from their standards?

Anything that can improve our economy is worth looking at. I am not sure this is the answer everyone has been looking for – can’t we come up with a better solution than Bill #S 2148?

Working lead safeI believe this law can create marketing and positioning opportunities to those who see it this way and in the process, keeps everyone safe  – and for those who see it differently, it’s obviously a never ending source of complaints which has divided our industry at a time when we need each others’ back more than ever.

Stay Healthy,

Peter Lawton, President, LeadSMART Training Solutions


Topics: Effects of the RRP Rule, Opt Out Related, Guest Blogs, Opinions from Renovators, Health Effects of Lead, Work Practices, Personal Protection

RRP Demo and Asbestos Removal Share Similar Risks and Work Practices

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 @ 06:00 AM

Guest Blog: RRP Demolition and Asbestos Removal Share Similar Risks and Work Practices

Rachel Gilner



Guest Blogger: Rachel Gilner is an Outreach Coordinator for Asbestos.com.  She specializes in asbestos awareness, education, and safety issues within the online community.  You can follow the organization on Facebook and Twitter for the latest asbestos and mesothelioma updates.


RRP Demolition and Asbestos Removal Share Similar Risks and Work Practices  

In 2008 the EPA began forcing contractors to abide by the RRP Rule regarding lead and its health hazard.  As noted in the rule, certification is required when working with homes built prior to 1978, which is also the same time period asbestos was commonly used in building homes.  Like lead, asbestos is an extreme health risk for contractors and homeowners.  Since asbestos removal is not required by law it often goes unnoticed by contractors.  Asbestos is the leading cause of mesothelioma, a rare cancer in the lining of the lungs.

If There’s Lead, There’s Probably Asbestos

Asbestos on pipingThe EPA created the RRP Rule because lead is found in many products in homes.  Asbestos was also used frequently in homes in similar products such as paint, floor tiles, roofing tiles, and water pipes.  It is safe to assume that where lead is present, asbestos is also near.   Asbestos is only a serious health hazard when it is disturbed, which means during renovations the fibers may be set airborne and inhaled by workers. 

Best Practices for Asbestos are Similar to Lead

According to the RRP Rule workers are required to remain up-to-date on training and lead-safe work practices.  Although the only current laws regarding asbestos removal are for abatement companies and not contractors, safe handling is still important all around. Here are some good rules of thumb:

  1. Asbestos Removal signageAssume asbestos is present if you are working with an older home if it has not been tested by the owners
  2. Post warning signs around the area containing asbestos
  3. Wear a HEPA certified protective face mask to avoid inhaling asbestos dust fibers
  4. Wet down asbestos particles you may see to avoid them from becoming airborne
  5. Change your clothes before returning home and keep work clothes away from family members

Protecting Your Workers

Although asbestos is not included in the RRP Rule, companies should still be concerned about the health and well-being of their workers.  Workers are protected under OSHA, and have the right to a safe workplace.  The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe working conditions.  It would be in the best interest of employers to be aware of lead or asbestos on the premises.  If a proper test has not been performed you should always assume lead or asbestos is present until it is proven otherwise

For additional information on Asbestos visit Asbestos.com.  If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos and would like to speak with someone directly our advocates can be reached directly at 800-815-7924.


Topics: Guest Blogs, OSHA Considerations, Work Practices, Personal Protection

Labels, Signs and Printers for RRP – and Beyond: Guest Blog

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Jul 14, 2011 @ 06:00 AM

Labels, Signs and Printers for RRP – and Beyond


Steve Stephenson, Duralabel





Guest Blogger: Steve Stephenson is the Managing Director for Graphic Products at DuraLabel


You’ve been reading about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule which requires contractors performing renovation, repair and painting (RRP) projects that disturb lead-based paint in dwellings where children under six and/or pregnant women live to be certified and follow particular work practices including using signs and labels to prevent lead contamination.

EPA 40 CFR 745.85 states that firms must post signs clearly defining the work area and warning occupants and other persons not involved in renovation activities to remain outside of the work area. These signs must be in the primary language of the occupants. The signs must be posted before beginning the renovation and must remain in place and readable until the renovation and the post-renovation cleaning verification is completed.

The EPA says that signs and labels must adhere to this hierarchy:

  • The word “Warning” must be placed at the top of the sign
  • Underneath “Warning,” the sign must say “Lead Work Area”
  • Under that, “Poison”
  • Finally, under “Poison,” the sign must say “No drinking, eating or smoking”

These types of warning signs and labels typically may be purchased pre-printed in bulk. Other types of signs are also often required. These are custom signs and labels for commercial jobs, final inspections and re-labeling painted pipes and drains. There are a number of approaches to making these signs and labels, too.  


  • How frequently you’ll need to create new signs and labels
  • How critical is visibility? Weather-resistance?
  • Sign and label placement – indoors or outdoors?
  • The ability to bring your printer to the jobsite for on the fly labels

The new DuraLabel Toro printer, for example, is battery-powered for mobility, comes with software for pipe marking and custom label design and prints one half inch to four inch wide labels at any length. Light adhesive tape supplies are repositionable and adhere to a variety of surfaces and textures – important when you need to place a label on a wall or in a kitchen that you’re in the midst of preparing to paint.

“I think that being able to re-apply the signs is a huge advantage as walls and finish surfaces tend to change during construction,” said Geoffrey Shafer, PEGASUS Design-To-Build.

As many contractors fit the DIY profile, we’re pretty sure that they’ll opt for creating their own signs and labels when they need them.


For more information about the DuraLabel family of mobile printers and rugged supplies for contractors, contact Steve Stephenson, Managing Director, Graphic Products and visit www.DuraLabel.com.

Topics: Signage, Guest Blogs, OSHA Considerations, Compliance Options, Tools and Supplies

A Fast, Clean and Safe Way to Remove Lead Paint: Guest Blog

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Apr 10, 2011 @ 06:00 AM

A Fast, Clean and Safe Way to Remove Lead Paint

Catherine Brooks

One Person’s Opinion: Catherine Brooks, MBA is the owner of a small business, Eco-Strip LLC since 2003. Previous to starting this second business, she owned a consulting practice and worked for 20 years with small private companies, local and state governments, and OSHA. Her specialties were public health, recycling, and executive training. She comes from the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. There she learned the hard way that moisture can destroy a paint job. She regrets that she power-washed her older home several years ago and SOON will now have to repaint it.  


A Fast, Clean and Safe Way to Remove Lead Paint

Good painters know that surface preparation before repainting is critical for quality and longevity of new paint. They also know that thick paint removal is a pain. Plus, most paint applied before 1978 is lead-based. With the new EPA's RRP rule, dry abrasive methods such as power sanding, power planing, and mechanical scraping without vacuum attachments are prohibited; so is high temperature heat gun usage. These methods create and disperse lead dust, chips, and vapors which are seriously harmful to children and adults. Some contractors are upset with the requirements imposed by RRP, but the US is way behind European countries in regard to lead paint safety.


Airborne leaded dust chart


In the late 1980s, a safer and more eco-friendly method was developed in Sweden by a historic restoration painter. This method uses mid-range, infrared heat waves to heat both the substrate and the paint at a lower temperature. Therefore, it greatly reduces the hazards of removing lead-based paint in three ways:

  1. Metallic lead vaporizes at 1,100°F (the temperature at which high heat guns operate). The mid-range infrared heat waves heat the paint and wood only to 400-600º F. Dangerous lead fumes are not released. 
  2. Containing lead dust is difficult and costly but critical to prevent operator, building occupants, and the environment from being contaminated. The scraping of the soft paint created by the infrared heat generates minimum dust; dry scraping, sanding or shaving paint creates lots.
  3. The soft paint scrapings clump together and drop onto a plastic sheeting; they are easier to contain and bag up. While pressure washing surfaces may be faster, it leaves water full of paint chips in the work area’s soil, making it difficult to clean up without removing the top soil itself. Use of toxic or non-toxic chemical paint removers leaves messy goo also difficult to contain.

Dry scraping lead paintAnother key consideration in paint removal is the impact on wood, especially old, more valuable wood. Chemicals leach out natural resins and leave residue even after rinsing. High heat (1,100ºF) guns force paint pigment back into the wood and risk scorching and igniting wood. Sanding and shaving leave gouge and burn marks if not done skillfully. Pressure washing and new steam paint removal methods often leave irregular surface marks in the wood, drive moisture back into the wood, and create layers of “gray wood” which must be scraped away and or they will threaten the adherence of new paint.  All of these methods can damage wood.

Infrared heat paint removal can be the gentlest process on the wood. The infrared heat penetrates into the wood and pulls up natural resins, paint, and moisture deep within and rejuvenates the old wood. Yet, the lower temperature of 400-600° F. minimizes the risk of scorching the wood or catching it on fire. The stories of these heat gun fires are legendary.

Infrared paint removal The time for the entire surface preparation process is reduced using the infrared heat method. Set up, operation, and cleanup are faster than with other methods. There is no extra time for rinsing, neutralization, drying, or sanding the wood; it is immediately ready for primer.

Since there are several brands of infrared paint removers on the market, look for these qualities:

  • UL listing to verify safety testing.
  • Shock absorbers to reduce bulb breakage.
  • Automatic, overheat shut-off mechanism to prevent damage to the machine and the wood and to prevent paint overheating.
  • Built-in safety shields extending beyond the infrared bulbs that set the correct distance between the bulbs and the painted wood. These shields eliminate the operator’s guesswork about what distance is safe yet effective and also reduce overheating.
  • Comprehensive instruction materials and training videos to assure quick operator proficiency, safe operation, and proper maintenance of the machine.

Infrared heat for paint removal is a new technology whose time has come. Preservation of older homes rather than demolition is growing. People are choosing to rejuvenate their old homes for aesthetic, historic, and ecological reasons. Infrared paint removal offers a safer, gentler, and more ecological method to remove lead-based paint and bringing old wood back to life.

Contact: Catherine Brooks, Eco-Strip LLC with questions at cbrooks@eco-strip.com. Further information is at www.eco-strip.com

Topics: Technology for Remodelers, Guest Blogs, Compliance Options, Work Practices, Work Practice Exclusions, Tools and Supplies

5 Things Your RRP Trainer Probably Forgot To Tell You: Guest Blog

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, Mar 16, 2011 @ 06:00 AM

5 Things Your RRP Trainer Probably Forgot To Tell You

Janet Kerley


One Person’s Opinion: This is a guest blog submitted by Janet M. Kerley to express her opinion.  Janet M. Kerley, CHMM is the Lead Pb Trainer for the Santa Fe Community College Lead Training Program. In her spare time, she developed the smartphone app, RRP Comply,  to assist contractors in stepping through the RRP requirements. If you would like to express your opinion or offer something of value for RRPedia visitors let me know.  


5 Things Your RRP Trainer Probably Forgot To Tell You

EPA Logo


The EPA (with HUD) developed the standardized Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule courses to train contractors on how to comply with the RRP Rule.  As an experienced environmental professional, I believe the training materials leave out some critical information that contractors should know about how the EPA actually enforces its regulations.  Here are some additional recommendations that I provide in my classes to assist contractors in preparing to meet the EPA:

  • Keep RRP documents and records separate from your project notes and financial records.   
  • Keep RRP documents and records readily available.
  • Document (take a photo, write a memo-to-file, get a signature, get copies of certificates, etc.) on all RRP requirements.
  • Pay attention to and stick to the established deadlines within the RRP.
  • Work closely with other contractors on the job to maintain consistency in all RRP recordkeeping.
  • Establish a clear pattern of compliance within your company and your subcontractors.

While EPA inspectors might actually show up at your job site, the most probable scenario is they will show up at your office and ask to review your records for the previous three years.  Let me explain why I make the above recommendations.

The EPA typically uses a variety of economic models (ABEL, BEN, INDIPAY, MUNIPAY, PROJECT) to calculate fines and penalties for violators. Handing the EPA inspector your costs and profit information in your project file just makes their job easier.  If they find a violation, there is an established procedure for requesting company financial information during the enforcement process.  

Since we are in the implementation phase of RRP, there are still many gray areas in the rule that will get resolved over the next three to five years.  Until then, keeping your project notes separate from the required recordkeeping prevents an inexperienced regulator from jumping on a misplaced word in your documents.

RRP paperworkThe definition of ‘readily available’ varies widely. For example, OSHA allows up to 24 hours for businesses to produce some types of required records.  When the EPA inspector walks in and asks for your RRP documents, you should be able to open a file drawer, pull out a box, or hand them a CD with all of your records within a 15 to 30 minute time frame.  Otherwise, they pull out their ticket book and start writing violations.

RRP SignEPA does not allow hearsay compliance. If it isn’t written down, it didn’t happen.  You can stand there and tell them that you used containment on every job.  But, a picture of your jobsites with you pointing to the warning sign outside your containment demonstrates compliance beyond any doubt. Pictures are worth a thousand words…and don’t forget to set your date and time stamp on your photo.

EPA loves to catch us on the dates.  For example, contractors are required to provide the Lead Test Documents to the client within 30 days of completion of the project.  We have a training slide that says that but the provided form does not have a location to document receipt of the test results. I recommend you insert a line that says ‘Received By’ with a place for your client’s signature and date in the Client Information box on the Lead Test Documentation form.  Perform the test, hand it to your client to sign, and then make copies.  

Arrange to meet with all other renovators, subcontractors, specialty craftsmen on the project to determine who is going to be the Assigned Renovator.  Coordinate with all companies on a LBP project before, during and after to make sure everyone’s documentation is correct and complete.  It only takes one bad apple for the EPA to dig into everybody’s apple crate.

By keeping timely, correct, and proper documentation on your projects that fall under the RRP Rule requirements, you can establish a pattern of compliance.  If your recordkeeping is available, comprehensive to the rule’s requirements, and somewhat orderly, the EPA inspector will not be inclined to dig too deep to find minor non-conformances.  

RRP Records



Remember: The LBP job is not done until the paperwork is complete.  It can be a very costly mistake. 

Topics: Guest Blogs, Compliance Options, Documentation Considerations, Enforcement and Inspections