Enforcement of WI’s Lead Safe Renovator Rule

When we go out and teach the Lead Safe Renovator class throughout Wisconsin, some of the most frequent questions we get are about enforcement—who does it, how many inspectors are there, how much are the fines, how are the authorities finding out about non-compliant job sites? So, let’s get to work answering all those questions and more!

Wisconsin's Department of Health Services is responsible for enforcement and administration of the Lead Safe Renovator rule for remodeling pre-78 homes and child-occupied facilities.

WI Department of Health Services

The only Lead Safe Renovator authority in the state of Wisconsin you need to worry about is the Department of Health Services (DHS). That department is the be all and end all of renovating (or abating) lead (and asbestos) in Wisconsin. It promulgates regulations, administers certifications, collects fees, inspects job sites, levies fines, etc. If you’re doing lead-safe work in Wisconsin, you’d be well served in getting to know the staff in the Lead & Asbestos unit—they’re good people to work with.

In my view, enforcement of the Lead Safe Renovator rule has been incremental. Back in 2010 DHS was focusing on getting remodelers to go through the 8-hour Lead Safe Renovator-Initial class and then getting companies certified. Well, time has passed and today DHS is enforcing much more than just certifications.

Enforcement Data

Today DHS is enforcing the full spectrum of the Lead Safe Renovator rule. According to department records, in 2013 DHS took enforcement actions against contractors and property managers for:

  • certification (for both individuals and companies)
  • pre-renovation education (the act of handing over “Renovate Right“)
  • to setting up containment and containing all dust and debris
  • following the prohibited practices
  • controlling the work area (by using warning signs and perimeter markings)
  • cleaning (for exterior jobs this means cleaning every day).

Here are some other facts and figures of notes: Currently, the minimum fine for a single Lead Safe Renovator violation is $100 and the maximum amount is $1,000. In 2013, according to a DHS presentation on the topic, it conducted 900 inspections on Lead Safe Renovator job sites. I do not know how many of those inspections resulted in fines; however, I do know that the average fine totaled $1,300.

2 Big Fish

The final tally on Lead Safe Renovator fines from DHS does not rival anything levied by the EPA as of late (see:  “Corporate-wide Settlement with Lowe’s Protects Public from Lead Pollution During Home Renovations“). However, there were two companies in 2013 fined far in excess of $1,300.

The first company, a window installation firm, was fined a total of $14,104 for using uncertified subcontractors on multiple projects. The second incidence involved a company that conducted 33 renovation projects on pre-78 housing or child-occupied facilities after its certification was revoked; this firm was fined $7,425.

Going Forward

So what’s the takeaway? It’s obvious that Lead Safe Renovator enforcement is happening. DHS is receiving complaints related to the Lead Safe Renovator rule—from homeowners and professional contractors—and acting on them.

If you’re not certified—get certified. Sign up for the initial 8-hour Lead Safe Renovator class today, or contact us about holding a class in your area. And if you are certified, keep in mind you’re required to take 4-hour refresher education every 4 years, and we can assist you with that, as well. Last, on this topic I always recommend reaching out to DHS with specific enforcement or compliance issues. The folks who work in that department are truly helpful, and they’re very responsive.

Get Ready to See Lead On the Silver Screen

Lead Safe America Foundation CEO Tamara Rubin (left) and Testudo LLC President Samantha Dalsing during a screening of Rubin's "MisLead: America's Secret Epidemic" documentary about lead poisoning

Lead Safe America Foundation CEO Tamara Rubin (left) and Testudo LLC President Samantha Dalsing

Last evening we were delighted to sponsor a focus-group screening of the documentary “MisLead: America’s Secret Epidemic,” a film that details several families’ tribulations with lead poisoning. If all goes as planned, the film will be included this Spring at the Sundance Film Festival. The film’s creator, Tamara Rubin, came to Madison, Wis., last night to preview the documentary for our lead-safe community. Testudo LLC was there along with public health officials, environmental compliance officers, nurses, mothers, fathers and children. Ms. carcasa iphone 7 roja silicona Rubin is also the founder and director of the nonprofit Lead Safe America Foundation. The Lead Safe America Foundation provides support to families across the U.S. carcasa sumergible iphone who find out their children have been poisoned by lead in their homes. The film was very captivating. It features several emotional interactions between Ms. carcasas para el samsung galaxy j7 donuts Rubin and a cross-section of mothers whose children have been poisoned by lead in their home. Multiple segments show Ms. carcasas para samsung galaxy s4 Rubin running her national nonprofit foundation from her iPhone. carcasa original del real madrid iphone x She takes a call from a distressed mother in a different region of the U.S. and then immediately calls that mother’s state health department—we assume she has all of them saved in her phone contacts. No matter which state or federal department she calls, she begins the conversation with, “Hi, it’s Tamara …” There are also multiple enlightening exchanges with academics and historians in the film. carcasa samsung s4 original Ms. Rubin was even fortunate enough to have captured an interview with Noam Chomsky, one of the U.S.’s most respected intellectuals. carcasa piel iphone 7 plus Ms. Rubin has posted several film segments on her YouTube channel—you should check them out as soon as you can.

Are You Ready For OSHA’s Dec. 1 Hazard Communication Standard Deadline?

A pictogram for OSHA's updated Safety Data Sheets and labels under its Hazard Communication StandardBoy! How time flies. Way back in 2006 OSHA said it was going to update its Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), which is intended to let workers know more about the types of chemicals they work with on the job. carcasa samsung galaxy s4 i9505 After seven years, the time has finally arrived when employers across the country are required to train employees on updated chemical labeling requirements and the new “Safety Data Sheet” format, which is replacing the “Material Safety Data Sheet” format. carcasa iphone 6 mandala OSHA is requiring employers to train employees on these updates by Dec. 1, 2013—which, if you take a second to look closely at your calendar, is less than two months away! The entire HCS revamp is being gradually rolled out from Dec. 1 to June 1, 2016, and OSHA says this first step is necessary early in the transition process since workers are already beginning to see the new labels and SDSs on the chemicals in their workplace. carcasa iphone 8 plus disney So what kind of changes can you anticipate? First, the safety data sheet is now standardized in 16 sections. carcasa samsung galaxy a3 For example, employees will need to understand that Section 8 of the SDS will always contain information about exposure limits, engineering controls and ways to protect yourself, including personal protective equipment. What’s more, labels on chemicals will be standardized and will include product identifiers, signal words that give an indication as to how dangerous a chemical is, hazard statements that say which parts of the body the chemical will affect, and pictograms that are easily recognizable and indicate how hazardous a chemical is. carcasa iphone 8 plus magnetica If you’re scratching your head wondering what the heck all this means, fret not! Testudo is here to help, and we’re planning a number of training sessions in the coming months to ensure employers in Wisconsin are prepared for the HazCom changes. carcasa intermedia galaxy s6 The first is approaching on Nov. 6 in Elkorn, WI.

Sherwin-Williams Must Pay $10M Legal Fee in R.I. Lead Paint Case

Paint maker Sherwin-Williams is on the hook for $10 million in legal fees associated with a Rhode Island court battle over its making and marketing of lead-based paint, according to Durability+Design. carcasa iphone 6s 3 The court battle is notorious in the coatings industry. cover samsung tab a The state of Rhode Island sued a conglomerate of paint makers in 1999 for creating a “public nuisance” and “‘a continuing threat of harm’ to children” in its lead paint products. carcasa samsung galaxy s7 mr wonderful Rhode Island won the first round and pressed the paint manufacturers, including Sherwin-Williams, for $2.4 billion for lead paint abatement activities. carcasa samsung galaxy s9 Then in 2008 the state’s Supreme Court reversed the trial judge’s ruling and the judgment of abatement. carcasa iphone 8 star wars The most recent action concerns court fees only.

Commercial RRP Rule Could Happen in Jan. 2017

This morning the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it could enact a commercial RRP rule by Jan. carcasa irrompible iphone 6s 1, 2017. carcasa iphone qi The rule would also cover public buildings. The agency also announced that it will hold a public meeting on June 26 in Washington, D.C., to discuss implementing another Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule for commercial and public buildings. The meeting will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. carcasa iphone x sandias at EPA headquarters, Room 1153, EPA East Bldg., 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Further, the agency said it is again accepting public comments on the new rule; people interested in offering their input can do so here until July 12, 2013 (submit under docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2010-0173). carcasa iphone 6 purpurina liquida Otherwise, comments can be mailed to: Document Control Office (7407M), Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001.

Who It Could Affect

The EPA said that this rule could affect a wide swath of commercial/public contractors, including those who do industrial building construction, commercial and institutional building construction, as well as building finishing contractors, drywall and insulation contractors, painting and wall covering contractors, finish carpentry contractors, plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors, painting and wall covering contractors, electrical contractors, finish carpentry contractors, drywall and insulation contractors, siding contractors, tile and terrazzo contractors and glass and glazing contractors. However, it also noted that this list is not exhaustive. The EPA intends to have a proposed rule ready for public consumption by July 1, 2015. It would then work on crafting a final version over the next 18 months, putting the tentative effective date at about Jan. carcasa de iphone 6 plus 1, 2017.


Shortly after the RRP rule was published, several lawsuits were filed challenging the rule, asserting that EPA violated the Toxic Substances Control Act (under which the RRP rule was created) by failing to address renovation activities in public and commercial buildings. These lawsuits were brought by environmental and children’s health advocacy groups as well as a homebuilders association.

Occupational Lead Poisoning Still a Problem For Thousands (& Probably Thousands More)

Each year thousands of people encounter high enough concentrations of lead on the job site and become poisoned. carcasa samsung galaxy a5 2016 verus shine guard black Back to their homes these workers bring hypertension, kidney problems and reproductive problems—a lot more than they probably bargained for getting at work. According to recent research from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), between 1,300 and 1,900 fell victim to occupational lead poisoning from 2008 to 2011 in that state. carcasa iphone 6 goku These are thousands of people who are trying to do right and make an honest living but are literally being poisoned by their work. Here’s a snapshot of how many employers were providing blood lead level testing in five industries in which significant lead exposure is possible: 87% of battery manufacturers, 56% of non-ferrous foundries (lead-using), 14% of radiator repair (copper-brass), 8% of painting companies (licensed San Francisco painting contractors), and only 1% of wrecking and demolition companies. carcasa movil iphone 8 plus To make matters even worse, the CDPH admits that its research is incomplete and that their work “cannot fully describe the magnitude and distribution of elevated BLLs among California workers.” First, while the U.S. carcasa movil samsung j7 2016 Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to determine whether workers are exposed to lead, thousands of employers do not. carcasa negro iphone x OSHA’s has two main standards that address worker exposure to lead in the workplace, one for construction (29 CFR 1926.62) and another for general industry (29 CFR 1910.1025), and together they basically cover any workplace where lead is present, from construction sites, to battery manufacturing plants to painting job sites. carcasa samsung sgh u800 Employers are required to conduct an initial exposure assessment to determine whether workers are exposed to unsafe levels of lead; however, “many employers fail to provide [blood lead level] testing to their lead-exposed workers,” the CDPH says, so there is no baseline of how many workers are even exposed to lead on the job site, which means getting a firm grip on the number of workers that are poisoned could be impossible. carcasa iphone 5s spigen The bottom line is that if you are an employer and lead could be a factor on your job sites, you are required to monitor your workers’ lead exposure.

‘They Still Put Lead in Toys?’ Yup, They Sure Do …

“They still put lead in toys?” Unfortunately, we hear this question far too often at Testudo. The answer is, yes, thousands of toys manufactured today contain hazardous amounts of lead despite a federal ban on such products. The result is that children throughout the U.S. continue being exposed to hazardous toxins simply by playing with their favorite toys. To help fix this problem Testudo will exhibit at the first annual Natural Parenting Expo March 10 at Madison’s Monona Terrace, and we will test any toy for lead free of charge! (And we’ll test dishes or any other household item, too.) Lead in toys is an issue that Testudo keeps a close eye on. One of our favorite websites is the Consumer Products Safety Commission, which keeps a tally of all the voluntary recalls manufacturers issue for toys that contain too much lead. Here’s a fairly typical example of a leaded product: the “Captain Cutlass Pirate Pistol,” which was made in China and sold at Halloween shops from April 2008 through May 2012 for $6.50. iphone 6 carcasa apple original Lead in toys: the Captain Cutlass toy pistol Lead in toys: the Toy Story bowling set toy And if you think manufacturers limit their lead to less-popular, cheap-ish toys, think again. carcasa iphone 6 plus guess In 2011 a Toy Story themed bowling set sold at Wal-Mart was the subject of a recall after it was found the red paint used on some pins contained too much lead. In 2008 HealthyStuff.org tested hundreds of popular toys and found 20 percent contained significant levels of toxic chemicals, including lead. Among the products found to have contained lead were a Hannah Montana earrings made by Disney, a toy from Magnetix, a harmonica in a band set made by Melissa & Doug, and a doctor’s kit by Fisher-Price (probably one of the most ubiquitous toy sets ever made). carcasa samsung galaxy a3 All of these particular products were made in China; however, HealthyStuff.org has said American-made toys sometimes contain lead, too. carcasas samsung s5 chile

Now for a little personal twist: My wife Samantha and I, who own Testudo, stocked our kitchen in 2008 with a new set of plates and bowls similar in style to Fiesta ware dishes. carcasa resistente al agua iphone 8 We ate off the dishes for a number of years before we wised up and thought to test their lead content one day. fundas iphone 8 plus armadura carcasa Needless to say, we tested them and they came back “hot”—we had been eating off leaded dishes. So back to the store we went and purchased a complete set of genuine Fiesta ware dishes, which is lead-free and made in Virginia.

Keeping Wisconsin RRP Rule Revenues In Wisconsin

No matter whether you’re on the right wing or left wing of politics, or somewhere in the center, or no matter whether you think the EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule is a great idea or a terrible one, any Wisconsin resident or Wisconsin-based business should lobby their legislators to support AB 479, a bill that aims to keep the state’s RRP rule revenues in Wisconsin. AB 479 was recently introduced in the Wisconsin legislature by Rep. carcasas para galaxi s6 Tom Larson. carcasas iphone 6s pesas The bill’s aim is to raise fines for people who violate Wisconsin laws concerning the spread of lead-based dust during home remodels. carcasa samsung galaxy xcover s5690 The EPA is actually requiring Wisconsin raise these fines so that Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services (DHS) can retain authority over the EPA’s lead paint remodeling laws. By retaining this authority, revenues paid to comply with the lead paint laws—in the form of company fees and fines—stay in Wisconsin and support local government jobs. carcasas movil samsung s7 If AB 479 is not signed into law, DHS will lose regulatory authority over the RRP rule. carcasa recargable iphone 6 If that happened, revenues would be shipped off to Washington, D.C., where they would support bureaucrats there. And if this happened, certain public servants in Wisconsin could see worse job security, or they might even lose their jobs altogether. carcasa iphone 6 nintendo I’ve worked closely for the past 5 years with many people in DHS, and I’ve also worked with the EPA on a number of occasions. DHS servants are quick to answer questions and fix certification issues. If DHS loses administration of the RRP rule, I and thousands of other professionals in the lead remodeling industry will lose valuable contacts, and Wisconsin will lose decades of institutional knowledge of how remodeling can cause lead poisoning. In 2011 the EPA mandated that states overseeing their own RRP rule raise their minimum fine to $1,000 and the maximum fine to $5,000 or risk losing authority over the rule. It may seem unsubstantial, but this is all AB 479 does—it simply adjusts the rule’s fines so we can keep RRP administration in Wisconsin. Without AB 479 being signed into law, the day is fast approaching when EPA will finally pull the plug on Wisconsin’s RRP oversight and set in motion a chain of events that will most certainly put more children at risk of being poisoned by lead. This would be a tragedy.