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Starting April 22, 2010 a new rule by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates that all renovation and repair contractors working in pre-1978 homes, schools, and day care centers who disrupt more than 6 square feet of lead paint inside and 20 square feet of paint on the outside are required to become EPA Certified in lead-safe work practices. 

Contractors are required to take a one-day training course and firms must register with the EPA. If not, they could face tens of thousands of dollars in fines in the future. EPA certification is good for five years. 

There is a simple reason for the new rule, protecting people's health, especially children. Childhood lead poisoning is preventable. New research shows that contractors like plumbers, electricians, painters, window replacement experts and building service professionals can inadvertently expose children to harmful levels of lead from invisible dust disturbed during jobs they perform every day. The irreversible damages of lead poisoning can cause a range of effects from diminished motor skills to behavioral problems and learning disabilities.  

According to the Ohio Department of Health's 2008 data, Cuyahoga County has the highest number of children with elevated lead levels in the state with the City of Cleveland having the highest.  

For additional information from the EPA: http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm  

Source: Cuyahoga County Board of Health, 11/2010