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Issue Summary Lead

Lead-based paint has been banned since 1978, but many older structures still have this paint on walls, woodwork, siding, windows, and doors. Construction and demolition workers can be exposed to lead contamination by cutting, scraping, sanding, heating, burning, or blasting lead-based paint from building components, metal bridges and metal storage tanks. In addition to exposure to workers, lead-based paint debris or dust can also make its way into soil, potentially contaminating surface waters. Lead poisoning is a serious health threat for adults and is especially damaging to young children.

In most states, C&D debris contaminated with lead-based paint must be managed in different ways depending upon where the debris came from and what it is. For example, lead-based paint waste (e.g., paint chips, dust, and sludges) from removal or remediation activities and C&D debris from commercial or industrial sites that is contaminated with lead-based paint must be managed as RCRA hazardous waste if a representative sample meets the toxicity characteristic (D008). However, in most states, contractors working to renovate, remodel, or abate lead-based paint in homes are allowed to dispose of lead-based paint waste as household garbage. In many states, contractors who generate the waste in this manner do not need to determine whether the waste meets the toxicity characteristic under RCRA.


U.S. EPA Lead in Paint, Dust and Soil Home Page. Starting point for EPA lead resources.

EPA is proposing revisions to the Lead-based Paint Program. The minor revisions will improve the day-to-day function of the Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) andLead-based Paint Activities