Home Depot Settlement FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions, December 17, 2020
- Why is it important to hire firms that have RRP certification?
- How is Home Depot addressing alleged violations of the RRP Rule?
- How can I make sure a contractor is certified to perform work on my home? What does this settlement do to make sure Home Depot contractors are certified and follow the rules?
- Whom should I contact if I am a Home Depot customer with questions or a complaint about the handling of lead paint during my Home Depot renovation? What about renovations handled by other companies?
- Why Is Lead Paint Dangerous?
- How can renovation firms and renovators get certified by the EPA?
Why is it important to hire firms that have RRP certification?
Certified Firms are obligated by federal law to protect you by minimizing exposure to lead-based paint disturbed in the course of renovation, repair or painting activities in homes built before 1978, where lead-based paint is more likely to be present. A firm with RRP certification is required to inform you about the RRP Rule, assign an RRP-certified worker (knowns as a “Certified Renovator”) to the project, and ensure compliance with the RRP Rule. The Certified Renovator has received training on Lead Safe Work Practices and other requirements of the RRP Rule and can provide on-site training to other workers at the worksite. These requirements of the RRP Rule benefit you – as the homeowner or occupant - by keeping you informed and minimizing your exposure to paint dust and waste that could contain lead.
- Firms must apply to EPA for certification to perform renovations or dust sampling. To apply, a firm must submit a completed application and fee to EPA online. For more information and to apply visit www.epa.gov/lead/getcertified. If you have additional questions, you may call and speak with a specialist Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Eastern time (except federal holidays) at 1 (800) 424-LEAD .
How is Home Depot addressing alleged violations of the RRP Rule?
For the most serious violations addressed by the Consent Decree, Home Depot contacted customers and offered to perform inspections with certified Lead Inspectors/Risk Assessors and, when dust lead hazards were found, provided specialized cleaning and verification. Going forward, the Consent Decree requires Home Depot to investigate and respond to customer complaints. In instances where Home Depot or the customer do not receive a completed Lead Paint Renovation Acknowledgment Form Checklist required by the Consent Decree (Home Depot Form HS-115), or the contractor did not comply with Lead Safe Work Practices, the company will perform an inspection for dust lead hazards and, if hazards are found, a specialized cleaning.
How can I make sure a contractor is certified to perform work on my home? What does this settlement do to make sure Home Depot contractors are certified and follow the rules?
The RRP Rule requires renovation firms to have their EPA or state RRP certification available onsite, so customers who hire a firm to do work on their pre-1978 home should ask to see their contractor’s certification. Additionally, under this settlement, Home Depot is required to ensure its contactors use and provide to the customer the approved, completed Checklist, which requires both the contractor’s RRP Firm and Renovator Certification numbers.
To ensure that Home Depot uses certified firms and renovators to do work in homes with lead-based paint, the company is implementing an electronic compliance system to collect the Checklist and other documents designed to ensure its contractors’ compliance with the RRP Rule at every stage of the renovation process. For example, the Consent Decree requires Home Depot contractors to document that they provided an EPA-approved pamphlet to customers before work starts and then submit the documentation to Home Depot’s system in order to proceed with the renovation. Similarly, the system requires Home Depot to verify that it has collected the contractor’s documentation of compliant work practices within 30 days of the renovation’s completion so that the contractor can be paid by Home Depot.
Whom should I contact if I am a Home Depot customer with questions or a complaint about the handling of lead paint during my Home Depot renovation? What about renovations handled by other companies?
Customers with concerns about the handling of lead paint during their Home Depot renovation should contact Home Depot at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, any member of the public concerned about handling lead-based paint in their home can contact the National Lead Information Center at 1 (800) 424-LEAD. Anyone who suspects a violation of the EPA’s RRP Rule by any company doing work in their home should report that violation through the EPA’s Tip and Complaint webpage at https://19january2021snapshot.epa.gov/lead/report-lead-based-paint-complaints-tips-and-violations.
Why Is Lead Paint Dangerous?
Many people think lead paint poisoning does not happen anymore, and many homeowners and contractors may think they are doing all that needs to be done to avoid it. But lead paint poisoning isn’t just about a child eating paint chips, and even contractors who think they are doing a good job may not be working in a lead-safe manner. In fact, research shows that renovation contractors like carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters and window replacement experts can inadvertently expose children to harmful levels of lead from invisible dust disturbed during jobs they perform every day.Lead gets into the body when it is inhaled or swallowed. People, especially children, can swallow lead dust as they eat, play, and do other normal hand-to-mouth activities. People who sand, scrape, burn, brush, blast or otherwise disturb lead-based paint may breathe in lead dust or fumes, and risk unsafe exposure to lead.
Even very small levels of lead cause damage.
Lead is especially dangerous to children under 6 years of age. Lead can affect children’s brains and developing nervous systems, causing:
- Reduced IQ and learning disabilities.
- Behavioral problems. Even children who appear healthy can have dangerous levels of lead in their bodies.
Lead is also harmful to adults. In adults, low levels of lead can pose many dangers, including:
- High blood pressure and hypertension.
- Pregnant women exposed to lead can transfer lead to their fetus.
How can renovation firms and renovators get certified by the EPA?
For renovation activities, the RRP Rule requires each firm to be certified, to have at least one certified renovator, and for the remainder of employees involved in renovation activities to either also be certified renovators or be trained on the job by a certified renovator.
- Firms must apply to EPA for certification to perform renovations or dust sampling. To apply, a firm must submit to EPA a completed “Application for Firms,” signed by an authorized agent of the firm, and pay the correct amount of fees. To obtain a copy of the “Application for Firms” contact the NLIC at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323) or visit www.epa.gov/getleadsafe.
- In addition to the requirement that a firm be certified, federal law requires that a “certified renovator” be assigned to each job, and that all involved individuals are trained in the use of lead-safe work practices. To locate a training class in your area, visit Find an RRP training class or provider in your area.