It’s about to get a lot easier and less expensive to achieve minimum compliance with the Massachusetts Lead Paint Laws. The Massachusetts DPH Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is revising its lead paint regulations. Many surfaces that currently require stripping, replacement or encapsulation will only need to be repaired, or as the regulation says, “made intact.” This means for these surfaces, any peeling, chipping or chalking must be
scraped, feathered and repaired, but the lead paint can remain. Again, this is not for every surface. Another major change is that the state is lowering the blood lead level at which point a child is considered legally lead poisoned. The overall picture for homeowners and landlords is an estimated 30 – 50% cost reduction, but a 1,000% increase in the number of children under 6 years old in Massachusetts who are Lead Poisoned.
The new regulations are due to go into effect on December 1, 2017. In an effort to reduce the cost of lead paint abatement so that more properties are made “Lead Safe” for young children, Massachusetts is now only requiring the highest risk surfaces to be abated. This will cut the cost of bringing a house or apartment into compliance by 30% to 50% or more, depending upon the details of the property. The downside to this is since so much lead paint may remain on surfaces previously considered “high risk”, homeowners and landlords will need to be incredibly diligent in maintaining the paint, since so little chipping and chalking is needed to increase a child’s Blood Lead Level.
On the public health side, the definition of a “Lead Poisoned Child” in Massachusetts is changed from a child under 6 years of age with a Blood Lead Level (“BLL”) of equal or greater than 25 micrograms per deciliter (“mcg/dl”) to a BLL of 10 mcg/dl. The current standard is over 30 years old and medical research has long ago proven that a child suffers significant health and cognitive effects at much lower levels than previously understood. The new lower standard will result in a large increase in the number of statutorily poisoned children in the Commonwealth, leading to higher risk for property owners and contractors, since less lead hazard exposure is needed to cause a child to be lead poisoned. On the plus side, children whose blood lead levels were previously considered to be acceptable will now get medical help much earlier so the lifelong effects of lead exposure – learning disabilities, reduced IQ, ADD, and other potentially debilitating conditions – are greatly reduced.
During this transition period, Alpine can provide you with the details on how these new regulations will affect you directly, and can help you navigate through this process. Of course, these new regulations establish minimum standards. If you’re looking to go beyond the minimum standards and create a safer environment for your child, Alpine can customize your scope of work to fit your budget, your home and your goals.