East Texan contractors need certification before working on older homes

By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Sweeping new lead safety regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) require new certifications for contractors.

If you're planning to buy a "fixer-upper" or renovate your home built before 1978, those doing the work, must be safe-lead certified.

"We're establishing the safe lead practices for renovators, repair operators and painters," said Thomas Brennan, Head Instructor Certified by the EPA

Electricians, plumbers, painters and carpenters are all required to take a class  dealing with the new EPA regulations for working with lead paint and dust.

The students come from all types of contracting backgrounds, but all work on East Texas homes and businesses. Thomas Brennan teaches the "in's and out's" of working in and around lead hazards.

"The certified renovators have the tools and equipment and skills to do this an maintain a safe level for them and their families," said Brennan.

They'll be certified to work in buildings built before 1978 which could have lead issues. Mark Dupris, a renovator from Hemphill, took the class to prevent being fined thousands of dollars.  During the class he learned the real reasons behind the requirements.

"Binging dust home to my family and other people at risk is probably more important than a little fine," said Mark Dupris, Hemphill Renovator.

Children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the dust that's created when workers disturb areas with lead. According to instructor Dwaine Dulle, that dust can be deadly.

"It's spread over a very wide range of areas just by the very small, minute disturbance," said Dwaine Dulle, Instructor for Lead Safe Certification.

Hiring a lead-safe certified contractor should be a priority.

"Children are the main key ingredient here. They have hand to mouth contact... Which causes lead poisoning," said Dulle.

To find a certified contractor/renovator in the area go to the Deep East Texas Association of Builders' website at www.detab.org.

For those who need to be certified you can also find a schedule of future classes.

©2010 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.