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lead-safeHomes and other structures built before 1978 may contain lead paint. If a residence or child-occupied facility (such as a daycare) is going to be renovated, and the contractor does not follow lead-safe work practices in carrying out work that disturbs lead paint, dust that contains lead may be produced.

Lead-contaminated dust can cause lead poisoning in children, pregnant women, contractors, and other workers, their families, and even pets. In children under 6 years of age, lead poisoning may cause learning problems, developmental problems, behavioral problems, attention deficit disorder, language delay, anemia, and damage to the nervous system. In adults, elevated blood lead levels can cause high blood pressure, memory loss, reproductive system disorders, and physical fatigue. In both children and adults, the effects of elevated lead levels can cause permanent damage. This public health problem results in billions of dollars in health care costs to taxpayers and the government.

In Massachusetts, the Department of Labor Standards enforces the Deleading and Lead-Safe Renovation regulation, 454 CMR 22.00, which requires training, licensing and safe work practice requirements for renovation, repair and painting work – conducted for a fee – that disturbs lead paint in any residence or building that contains a child-occupied facility built before 1978.

The regulation requires:

1) Contractors and other entities that carry out work covered by these requirements must be licensed as “Lead-Safe Renovation Contractors” by the state’s Department of Labor Standards. Affected occupations include, but are not limited to, painters, plumbers, electricians, window installers, general contractors, property maintenance workers, and remodelers.
2) A “Lead-Safe Renovator-Supervisor” or “Certified Renovator” must be on site and in control of the work at all times when the work is in progress.
3) The work must be carried out in accordance with work practice requirements specified in 454 CMR 22.00, including, but not limited to: testing of suspect materials, work area isolation or delineation, exclusion of untrained personnel, covering of objects, acceptable work methods, cleanup and cleaning verification. Certain record keeping and notification requirements are also required.

  • BE AWARE that any work that disturbs 20 square feet of painted surface on the exterior or more than 6 square feet per room on the interior, of a property built before1978, is subject to this regulation.
  • ASK to see a contractor’s Lead Safe Renovator Contractor License and training certificate from an authorized trainer before hiring him/her. These licenses and training certificates are valid for a period of 5 years.
  • INFORM your contractor that you expect them to work lead-safe.
  • NOTICE unsafe work practices that spread lead dust and debris beyond the work area.
  • REPORT contractors or properties that you believe are in violation of this regulation to DLS.

For more information, to report a concern, or to ask for assistance, contact the Department of Labor Standards at www.mass.gov/leadsafe or 617-626-6960.

Written By:


Manager, Investigations and Enforcement Unit, Department of Labor Standards

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