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

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A Message From The Lead Paint Police: It’s Not What You Think...

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

A Message From The Lead Paint Police: It’s Not What You Think..

Bet you thought this would be about EPA enforcement! 

Lead PoliceActually this is about helping spread the word to children and parents about avoiding the dangers of lead exposure.  

In the video below Sesame Street characters sing a song that gets that message into the heads of young children.  Apparently, for whatever reason, children love the characters and the song.    This is further evidenced by this quote found with the video on YouTube:

“This is the only thing I remember from 4th grade. Some kid made the teacher replay this song 10 times...”




Protect family from lead poisoningI suggest renovators could use this video on their website.  Consider creating an area on your site dedicated to the RRP Rule.  Make it a place that offers information, advice and links that would help visitors understand the rule and the realities of lead exposure.  If you do so you can send prospects and customers to your site to help pre-educate them prior to a sales call or before beginning work at their home.  

This video is just one of many on YouTube about lead and the RRP rule.  Get creative.  Use some key word searches to find and then embed videos on your site.

Check out this RRPedia article for additional links you can use on your web site:

Resources About Lead and the EPA RRP Rule for Home Owners and Contractors


Topics: Videos, Sales Considerations, Marketing Considerations, Health Effects of Lead, Non-RRP Lead Topics

Is Low Level Exposure To Lead A Big Deal? Here is Your Answer…

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Mar 25, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

Is Low Level Exposure To Lead A Big Deal?  Here is Your Answer…

Before you decide to use the RRP Opt Out if/when it comes back, consider the information below.  Will you, your clients, their kids and your employees be at risk if you do not use lead-safe work practices?

Pompeii skeleton



 While the toxicity associated with exposure to high levels of lead was recognized by the ancient Greeks and Romans, the adverse health effects associated with low-level lead exposure only became widely recognized in the second half of the 20th century.  Over the past 40 years, epidemiological studies, particularly in children, continue to provide evidence of health effects at lower and lower blood lead levels.

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) concludes that there is sufficient evidence for adverse health effects in children and adults at blood Pb levels below 10μg/dL and below 5μg/dL as well.  The table below provides a summary of effect by life stage at which the effect is identified.


National Toxicology Program logo



Note: This information was found in a document published by NTP titled:

Draft NTP Monograph on Health Effects of Low-Level Lead, dated 10/14/11


Topics: Opt Out Related, Statistics, Health Effects of Lead, Non-RRP Lead Topics, Personal Protection

Another Example of the Government Not Following Its Own Lead Rules

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Feb 26, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

Another Example of the Government Not Following Its Own Lead Paint Rules

Did you know that our government has created its own exceptions to the rules and punishments it imposes on the rest of us?   Think insider trading rules for Congress.  One more example of this is that Federal agencies are required to comply with the same OSHA health and safety standards as private sector employers, but OSHA can’t propose monetary penalties against them for failure to comply with its standards.

National Park Service Violates Lead In Construction StandardsA recent example of this related to lead in construction is discussed in an OSHA News Release dated May 10, 2011.  According to the release OSHA had issued 16 notices of unhealthful and unsafe working conditions to the National Park Service-San Juan National Historic Site for violations of workplace health and safety standards, including exposing workers to lead and other hazards during lead paint encapsulation work in a building at the site. 

According to the release, The National Park Service was cited with violations related to lead hazards and included; not training employees on the recognition and avoidance of lead hazards, not conducting an initial lead exposure assessment, allowing lead to accumulate on floors, not providing clean change areas, not providing for laundering of protective clothing, allowing employees to leave the work area wearing protective clothing, inadequate hand-washing facilities and not notifying workers of their blood lead levels.

To make matters worse, OSHA considered these violations “willful”.  According to OSHA a willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Also according to OSHA, a serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Fit testing a respiratorAt the San Juan National Historic Site project eight alleged serious violations resulted from a lack of medical evaluations and fit-testing for employees using respirators, improper storage of compressed gas cylinders, no eye-wash stations where employees worked with corrosive products, an uncovered electrical receptacle, a lack of hazard communication training and material data sheets of the products used, and not implementing hazard communication and written respiratory protection programs.

Hilda Solis“There is a new sheriff in town. Make no mistake about it; the Department of Labor is back in the enforcement business…  Under my watch, enforcement of labor laws will be intensified to provide an effective deterrent to employers who put their workers’ lives at risk.”
-Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, (March 2009)

Under Executive Order 12196 and Section 19 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the head of each federal agency is responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for employees. However, like many government jobs, there is typically no punishment if they don’t.  What would it have cost your business if it had committed the same violations?  According to Puerto Rico area director Jose A. Carpena, the identified hazards would have resulted in fines of $115,000 for a private sector employer. “The National Park Service must take effective action to correct these hazards and prevent them from occurring again,” he added.

Topics: OSHA Considerations, Non-RRP Lead Topics, Enforcement and Inspections, Violation Reports

CLPPP: Obama’s Omnibus Bill Puts Children at Risk of Lead Poisoning

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Feb 17, 2012 @ 03:11 PM

CLPPP Says Obama’s Omnibus Bill Slashes CDC Funding; Puts Children at Risk of Lead Poisoning

CDC Budget cutsOne big reality of the current recession is the need for everyone to cut back their budgets.  This holds true for most Americans, businesses and nonprofits.   It has now also started to become a reality for our government.  A recent discussion posted to LinkedIn includes a link to an article that is titledPresident Obama: Restore funding to help lead poisoned children!”  The article explains how President Obama’s Omnibus bill slashes CDC funding for its healthy homes and lead poisoning prevention program by 94%, leaving half a million lead poisoned children without the full services they need in the coming year.

The fact is there is less money available and use of the money that is available needs to be prioritized.  It is also important to recognize that as Americans we are all entitled to our opinions, so it is only natural that there are many views for defining that prioritization. 

In this new economy perhaps everyone needs to rethink how we invest.  Organizations like CLPPP do great things for our society. However their ability to do so has been based on being and continuing to be SUBSIDIZED by the government.  Due to economic realities its time such organizations rethink how they use OUR money, because we are running out of it unless we print more.  If they use (or had used) the money they receive to STIMULATE their ability to exist perhaps they would be able to keep accomplishing their purpose without as much money from our government.

Who Moved My Cheese


Remember the book titled “Who Moved My Cheese”?  With the predictable reality of reduced subsidies becoming the norm due to this economy, organizations like CLPPP could (and should) use the limited funds they will have going forward in a different way. Perhaps knowing funding would likely become tight; they should have already changed their strategies like the smart mouse in the book.   For example:

  • Why not use their funds to get the EPA to actually enforce the RRP rule? 

  • How about use the money to find and publicly expose the businesses doing RRP work without the required training and firm certification?  

  • Why not use the money to check for building permit applications on pre 1978 housing that were approved and granted to businesses that are not EPA certified firms? 

  • Why not send CLPPP staff out into the communities they serve on the weekends to find and help DIY parents doing RRP work on their homes without the use or even the knowledge of lead-safe work practices?  

  • Why not teach inner city parents how to clean their homes in lead-safe ways that contain and capture lead dust, not put it back into the air and spread it around more?

The fact is that these example tactics could help accomplish the same goal of helping children and all of my examples would be proactive, significantly decreasing the number of children becoming lead poisoned by RRP activities and other sources of lead dust to begin with.

Prevent lead poisoningDoesn’t it make sense to concentrate funding on efforts that would prevent lead poisoning to begin with, rather than justify that money from the government is needed to help those already poisoned?  Why is it they are they still getting poisoned?  Plus, it would probably be much less expensive to prevent the problem than it would be to deal with it after it has occurred.

Just like independent small businesses with tight budgets, in a tight economy organizations like CLPPP and others must rethink how they do what they do so they can reduce their costs but at the same time become more effective at what they do.   In this new economy we all must find new ways to do business so we can continue operations and serve our customers the best way possible.

Topics: Health Effects of Lead, Non-RRP Lead Topics

Thoughts About Lead Poisoning for Hunters and Their Dinner Guests

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Feb 14, 2012 @ 06:00 AM

Thoughts About Lead Poisoning for Hunters and Their Dinner Guests

avoiding Lead poisoning cooking wild game, International and domestic studies have shown elevated lead levels in humans consuming large and small game hunted with lead ammunition.  Studies prove that regular consumption of game meat in adults and children found elevated blood lead levels compared with background levels, especially among children.   

In terms of lead ingestion, risk is dependent on how much lead is consumed and the frequency of exposure; therefore, limiting the total amount of lead exposure reduces harm. Factors that increase dietary lead exposure from spent lead bullet fragments in wild game include:

•The frequency and amount of hunted game that a person consumes.

•The age of the person consuming the meat.

•The degree of bullet fragmentation.

•The path which the bullet enters the wildlife.

•The care with which the meat surrounding the bullet wound is removed

•The use of any acidic treatments of the meat that would dissolve the lead (such as coating the carcass with vinegar or use of acidic marinades in cooking), which can increase exposure.

•Fragmentation that occurs due to the bullet hitting something hard (e.g., bone).

Important Considerations When Processing Your Bounty:Venison Sausage

There is expected to be a higher incidence of lead bullet fragments in ground meats than in loins or roasts because meat trimmed away from the bullet channel can contain more fragments. This is because the muscle tissue around the wound channel is not discarded, but rather is used in burger, stews, and sausages.   It is recommended that the tissue around the wound channel be removed during food preparation.

Variation in lead concentrations in small animals such as birds is large, most likely due to the shooting skill of the hunter. Birds where the hunter has not destroyed the body in killing it will have less lead exposure when consumed.

When preparing venison, avoiding vinegar and other acidic substances is suggested, as acids can make lead more soluble and therefore more readily absorbed in the body. Also, when processing, minimizing the batching of multiple deer is thought to reduce cross-contamination.

Ways to avoid the problem:

Lead vs copper bulletsYou could switch to archery!  If that is not an option for you consider use of non-toxic ammunition.  Currently, the US Fish and Wildlife Service approves the use of 11 types of non-toxic shell-shot with various material compositions. For example shell-shot is available in steel, bismuth, tungsten, and tin.  Also, bullets are available in copper and metal alloys.  The picture to the left shows he difference when a lead and a copper bullet were fired into a barrell.  The copper bullet mushroomed while its lead counterpart shredded during a recent demonstration at Waterloo, Wisc. Gun Club.

This information was summerized from "Lead Issues at National Park Service Units:Identifying Potential Sources and Minimizing Exposure" by the National Park Service Office of Public Health

Topics: Health Effects of Lead, Non-RRP Lead Topics

Lead Poisoning Is Growing In Belmont MA

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, May 03, 2011 @ 06:00 AM

Lead Poisoning Is Growing In Belmont MA

On Sunday April 24, 2011 I read an article in the Boston Sunday Globe by Erica Noonan titled Back to the GardenThe article was about the Victory Gardens in Belmont MA.   Noonan did a great job describing the history of gardens, who uses them, how people decorate them and what people are growing in them ranging from flowers to food.  What caught my eye was a picture of an old wooden window sash used to decorate one of the gardens.  I instantly suspected the sash could contain lead paint and if so, could cause serious health concerns.  On Monday afternoon I stopped by the Gardens to check it out.  The video below tells the story.  



As you can see from the video gardeners are definitely bringing lead paint into the gardens.  As the paint breaks down due to age and exposure to the elements the lead dust and chips are falling and/or are  being washed by the rain onto the ground contaminating the soil being used by the gardeners.  In addition to window sashes I also found and tested several gates, boards and doors that also contained lead paint.

I suggest gardeners everywhere need to be aware of the risks they take on when using old painted materials in their gardens.  Of course it is best to not bring items containing lead or lead paint into your garden, but unfortunately someone else may have already done so in the past.  Also, if you plant a garden next to the walls of an older home, it is best to assume the soil is contaminated with lead.  Years of peeling, scraping, sanding and repainting of the siding on a home can drop lead chips and dust onto the soils around your home.  Without testing you will never know if the soil has been contaminated.

Lead Contaminated vegtablesOn a web site by the name of BelmontPatch.com one of the gardeners, Marilyn Decource, commented about the gardens:
It's wonderful, she said, to have the community garden plot so close to her home where she can come a few hours to tend her plants every other day.  "It's good to be able to eat something organic. You really can't get vegetables this good at a grocery store."   Perhaps part of her success in the plot is that she doesn't use pesticides or fertilizer but does sprinkle a layer of compost over the entire garden, Decourcey said. This year, she added a layer of manure to the soil.

Marilyn might want to do a little research about gardening in lead contaminated soils before assuming her vegetables are safe to eat.  Click here to learn about the signs of lead poisoning.

To be safe, gardeners should do their own research if they suspect their garden may contain lead.  Here is some information I found at the Cornell University website about gardening in lead contaminated soils:
When gardening in lead contaminated soils, safety measures should be taken.

  • Wear gloves, or wash hands thoroughly after gardening and especially before eating, and be sure small children do not eat garden soil. Gardeners can bring lead-contaminated soil into the house on shoes and clothes, increasing levels of lead soil and dust in the home. This is especially a concern for crawling toddlers and infants. Remember that children tend to be at a greater risk of lead exposure from soils when the soil is directly taken into the body.
  • Plants may absorb some of the lead present in soil through their roots. Any lead that is absorbed tends to concentrate in leaves and the outer part of roots, so peel root crops such as beets, carrots, turnips, and radishes before eating.
  • Grow vegetables that produce edible fruits such as tomato, peppers, cucumber, squash, etc. Lead absorption into plants does not concentrate in the fruits.
  • If your soil has a lead contamination problem, grow fewer edible fruits and vegetables and more flowers, trees and shrubs.


RRP Warning signLike construction workers who are exposed to lead in the course of their work, Gardeners should also consider that their skin and their clothes may become contaminated.  Always wash your hands immediately after gardening and definitely before eating, drinking or smoking to avoid ingesting lead dust.   To reduce the risk of bringing lead contaminated soil into the home, rinse and launder gardening clothing promptly.  Being educated about the dangers of lead and ways to protect yourself as well as your family can help make sure you’re not growing a lead problem in your garden.  

If you would like more information about the Belmont Victory Gardens click here, or contact Conservation Commission Agent Mary Trudeau in the Office of Community Development at 617-993-2667 or mtrudeau@belmont-ma.gov

Topics: Videos, Health Effects of Lead, Non-RRP Lead Topics, Personal Protection