All You Need to Know About Lead Based Paint Inspections

California children with an Elevated Blood Lead Level can be the first ways to detect potential lead poisoning for children under the age of 6…

Because lead is easily mined, flexible, and resistant to corrosion, it is an extremely popular element for the manufacture of pipes, paint, ceramics, vinyl, and even cosmetic products. As with asbestos, long-term exposure to lead is toxic, and regulations are in place banning the use of lead in these common products.

One regulation is the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, or Title X, which is a federal law established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This law requires anyone selling a house built prior to 1978 to disclose to the buyer all instances of lead-based paint or other lead products in the house, to provide an educational brochure created by the EPA, and allow the buyer 10 days to have the house tested for lead before closing on the house. This law also applies to anyone renting a property built prior to 1978. Vacation rental properties, foreclosed properties, and properties that were previously inspected and deemed free from lead-based paint are not included in this regulation.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) mandated that anyone providing services for lead hazard evaluations, lead abatement plan preparation and work, and lead clearance inspections for residential and public buildings must be certified to complete these services.

There are five certifications with different clearances:

  • Inspector/Assessor (I/A) Certificate: allows the examination of buildings to determine the type of lead present, if any. Does not allow individual to perform lead abatement services.
  • Sampling Technician (ST) Certificate: allows samples to be taken if under the guidance of an Inspector/Assessor. Does not allow individual to perform lead abatement services.
    • Project Monitor (PM) Certificate: allows the managers of lead-related construction work to guarantee workers follow specifications. Does not allow lead abatement work or lead hazard evaluations.
    • Supervisor Certificate: allows daily supervision of construction activities on a lead-related work site or repainting or general construction performed on lead-based painted surfaces, and produce lead abatement plans. Does not allow lead hazard evaluations or clearance inspections.
    • Worker Certificate: allows only lead abatement services or repainting or general construction performed on lead-based painted surfaces to be completed under the guidance of a Supervisor.

The following regulations are relevant to lead paint in construction:

  • If the structure is older than 1978 and has not been tested for lead-based paint (LBP), workers must assume the paint contains lead and must use appropriate precautions.
  • If the proven or assumed LBP, is disturbed, all dust created from construction must be contained and cleaned up when the project is finished.
  • Safe work practices must always be followed.
  • Only certified individuals may test for the presence of lead.
  • Employers must protect their employees as much as possible and offer air testing, hand washing facilities, HEPA vacuums, protective clothing and training to reduce potential exposure.

Some contractors may not know the proper procedures to safely work in and around areas with lead- based paint. Essel’s team of engineers are familiar with all the lead-based paint requirements and are certified to provide the necessary services to keep projects in compliance with federal standards.


California Department of Public Health