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What is the big deal about Lead?

Lead-based paint hazards pose a significant threat to human health, particularly in older homes and buildings constructed before 1978 when lead-based paint was widely used. The dangers arise when lead-based paint deteriorates, peels, or is disturbed during renovation or repainting, releasing toxic lead dust and chips into the environment. Lead exposure can have severe and lasting health consequences, especially in children, causing developmental delays, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems. In adults, lead exposure can lead to high blood pressure, kidney damage, and cognitive impairments. Recognizing the importance of addressing lead-based paint hazards is crucial to creating safer living and working environments, and thorough testing and mitigation measures are essential steps in safeguarding individuals from the perils of lead poisoning.  The dangers of lead exposure are some of the most critical to a child’s ability to safely develop into a healthy and productive adult. As opposed to poisoning by other types of harmful substances, lead can permanently stunt an individual’s ability to grow and develop years beyond the initial exposure. This can have disastrous effects on a child’s future prospects, reducing their likelihood of completing their primary education, and translating into a lack of personal and professional opportunities in their later adult lives.
 

Despite progress in reducing lead poisoning, approximately 4,000 New Jersey children were found to have elevated blood lead levels (EBLL) (at/above 5µ/dL) according to the most recent state data from the 2020 State Childhood Lead Report. These are only the children who have tested positive, and with a smaller number of children being tested compared to 2018 there surely being more with elevated blood lead levels. Only 36.3% of children ages 6 to 26 months of age were tested in 2019, even though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 5 risk assessments between the ages of 6 months and 2 years, with additional yearly tests being recommended from age 3 to 6.   Children are typically the most vulnerable population when it comes to lead poisoning, although it can impact adults as well. 

Approximately a quarter of all children are estimated to have been exposed to lead when the dangerous EBLL threshold was lowered to 3µ/dL at the recommendation of CDC. We know that there is no safe level of lead in children. The effects are usually permanent. Serious consequences of lead poisoning include: asthma, developmental delay, learning difficulties, hearing loss, seizures, and pica.

However, there is hope. Childhood lead poisoning is entirely preventable. We are heartened at the passing of new legislation in 2020 reducing the risk of lead exposure through paints in rentals, and to see the steps that have been taken within the last 3 years. However, until the hazard of lead exposure is one that has been virtually eliminated from our children’s lives there will still be actions and steps needed to make this a reality. The children of New Jersey deserve no less. 

NEW NEW JERSEY LAW NOW IN EFFECT - Effective July 22, 2022

 

                  New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) released their lead-based paint

              regulations P.L. 2021, c.182, commonly referred to as NJ Lead Safe Certification. All rental dwelling units required to be inspected pursuant to P.L.2021, c.182 must be inspected for lead-based paint within two years of the effective date of the law, July 2, 2022, or upon tenant turnover, whichever is earlier.

 

New Jersey requires lead paint inspections for pre-1978, residential single unit, two-family, and multifamily rental properties upon tenant turnover, or by July 24, 2024, if there is no tenant turnover. Unless the unit meets one of the state-regulated exemptions.

 EXEMPTIONS - There are some exemptions call us for clarification

 

Dwellings that Must be Inspected Pursuant to P.L.2021, c.182  In accordance with P.L.2021, c.182, single-family, two-family, and multiple rental dwellings must be inspected for lead-based paint hazards, except for the following:

  • Dwellings that were constructed during or after 1978.

  • Single-family and two-family seasonal rental dwellings which are rented for less than six-months duration each year by tenants that do not have consecutive lease renewals. This exemption for seasonal rental dwellings does not extend to seasonal multiple dwellings.

  • Dwellings that have been certified to be free of lead-based paint pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:17-3.16(b) either after an abatement is completed or an evaluation has confirmed that there is no lead-based paint in the dwelling.

  • Multiple rental dwellings that have been registered with the Department of Community Affairs for at least ten years and have no outstanding lead violations from the most recent cyclical inspection performed on the multiple dwelling under the “Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law” (N.J.S.A. 55:13A-1).  Cyclical inspections currently occur every five years in multiple dwellings.

    • This means that all multiple dwellings constructed prior to 1978 and registered with the Department for at least ten years that have a certificate of inspection issued by the Department of Community Affairs, Bureau of Housing Inspection, are exempt from this requirement.  A certificate of inspection means there are no outstanding violations.

    • A multiple dwelling that has been registered with the Department for at least ten years with an open inspection that has no violations for paint is also exempt from this requirement.

    • Open inspections means that inspections are ongoing to remediate violations during a cyclical inspection. This is because, during cyclical inspections, the Department cites paint violations, which includes flaking, loose, or peeling paint on any interior surfaces rather than lead violations.  To ensure periodic lead-based paint inspections occur where needed, any open paint violations in a dwelling unit must be inspected pursuant to P.L.2021, c.182

  • Dwellings with a valid lead-safe certificate issued pursuant to this law, P.L.2021, c.182.  Lead-safe certificates are valid for two years from the date of issuance.

 

Property owners have their choice of selecting who will be performing the inspection.  Some townships have inspectors that are certified to perform the inspections or the property owner can hire their own private firm such as B. Jones Environmental who have certified inspectors to perform the inspections and assist with the personal attention of the paperwork to ensure the certificate is properly filed.

Failure to comply will result in a $1,000 per week fine until completed.

Lead Safe Certification

The NJ Lead Safe Certification Inspection is performed using either a visual inspection or a more detailed method such as obtaining a dust sample.  The type of required inspection is determined by the municipality in which the rental unit is located.  As part of our service, we ensure the type of inspection that the township requires is performed.

Lead-Free Certification 

The process to obtain a "Lead Free" certification and permanently never being required to have inspections performed involves having an XRF inspection.  This is typically performed on properties that have been "gut" renovated down to the studs.  All substrates/building materials that would contain lead have been removed.

Lead Tests available:

Visual Inspection

The inspector will need full access to both the interior and exterior of the testing area.  The inspector will start by assessing the exterior and interior of the property, looking for signs of deteriorating paint, such as peeling, chipping, cracking, or blistering paint. They will also inspect painted surfaces that are prone to friction and wear, like windows, doors, and railings.

The inspector will check all rooms that have areas that are commonly affected by lead hazards, such as windowsills, doors, trim, and walls. They'll pay particular attention to areas with visible damage or wear.

Throughout the inspection, the inspector will document their findings, taking photographs and notes of any lead-related issues. They may also inquire about the history of renovations or repainting, as this can provide valuable information about potential lead hazards. Once the visual inspection is complete, the inspector will provide a report detailing their observations and recommendations for further testing or lead abatement if necessary.  If the inspector is unable to issue a certificate on the spot, our inspector will give the owner an opportunity to have a certified lead renovation contractor to make the repairs.  After the repairs are completed, the owner can schedule a re-inspection.

Dust Sampling

The inspector will need full access to the entire unit that will be inspected including bedrooms and may include basements as well.  The Inspector will utilize specialized sampling equipment, such as wipe sampling kits, to collect dust samples from various surfaces within the property. High-risk areas, such as windowsills, floors, doors and other potential sources of lead contamination, will be targeted for sampling. The process involves wiping a designated area with a moistened cloth or swab specifically designed for lead dust collection.  These results take 10-15 days for completion; as such owners should allow ample time if seeking a certificate for a time sensitive time frame such as obtaining a certificate of occupancy, new tenant turnaround etc.

Paint Chip Analysis

Paint chip analysis for lead is a specialized process aimed at determining the presence and concentration of lead in paint samples.  This analysis involves collecting small paint chips (we try to find the most inconspicuous  area to abstract the sample but cannot guarantee the size, usually it is no larger than a postage stamp, but it will include multiple layers of paint) from various surfaces and subjecting them to rigorous laboratory testing. The collected paint chips are carefully prepared and analyzed using advanced techniques to measure the lead content. The results are reported in micrograms of lead per gram (µg/g) of paint. This analysis is a crucial step in identifying lead hazards, assessing the risk of lead exposure, and guiding the development of effective lead abatement strategies to ensure the safety and well-being of those residing in or around properties with lead-painted surfaces.

XRF Reading/Scans

The inspector will need an area to place the equipment and must have full access to all areas, owner should make sure that there are no locked rooms as this may result in the delay of the inspection and therefore a delay in receiving the results and/or certification.  Also it is VERY important that the premises be vacant, please avoid scheduling any other inspections at the same time as there cannot be anyone in any of the rooms while the XRF inspection is being performed.  This is for the safety of others and must be strictly adhered to.  Failure to follow this rule may cause a cancellation without refund to the inspection.  XRF readings tell how much lead is beneath the surface. Results are reported in milligrams per square centimeter. If the reading is greater than 1 milligram per square centimeter (1.0 mg/cm2), then the surface is considered a lead surface. Typically the inspector will test per color of paint.

Lead in Drinking Water Testing

Lead testing in drinking water is a crucial process aimed at ensuring the safety and health of individuals and communities. Given the potential health risks associated with lead exposure, particularly to children and vulnerable populations, regular testing is essential. This procedure involves collecting water samples from various sources, such as taps and faucets, and analyzing them for lead content. The results of these tests are reported in micrograms per liter (µg/L) or parts per billion (ppb).

ASTM Compliant Risk Assessment

So you had an inspection completed and your property test positive for lead, what happens next?  Our firm will create what is called a Risk Assessment Report.  Once we have thoroughly determined exactly how much lead, we will provide you with a written detailed suggested plan for your Certified Renovation Repair Contractor to perform corrective action, once completed, we will come back for a reinspection and issue a clearance if the remediation efforts were completed.

LEAD SCREENING

B.Jones Environmental offers homeowners who elect to have their residence evaluated to protect the safety of their children.  Lead Screening follows the guidelines of the Environmental Protection Agency 40  CFR 745.227(c), Work practice standards for conducting lead-based paint activities: target housing and child-occupied facilities:

(1)  A lead hazard screen shall be conducted by a Certified Risk Assessor

(2)  If conducted, a lead hazard screen shall be conducted as follows:  

(i)  Background information regarding the physical characteristics of the residential dwelling or child-occupied facility and occupant use patterns that may cause lead-based paint exposure to one or more children age six years and under shall be collected.  

(ii)  A visual inspection of the residential dwelling or child-occupied facility shall be conducted to:

(A)  Determine if any deteriorated paint is present, and  

(B)  Locate at least two dust sampling locations.  

(iii)  If deteriorated paint is present, each surface with deteriorated paint, which is determined using documented methodologies, to be in poor condition and to have a distinct painting history, shall be tested for the presence of lead. 

(iv)  In residential dwellings, two composite dust samples shall be collected, one from the floors and the other from the windows, in rooms, hallways or stairwells where one or more children, age 6 and under, are most likely to come in contact with dust.  

(v)  In multi-family dwellings and child occupied facilities, in addition to the floor and window samples required in paragraph (c)(2)(iv) of this section, the risk assessor shall also collect composite dust samples from common areas where one or more children, age 6 and under, are most likely to come into contact with dust.  

(3)  Dust samples shall be collected and analyzed in the following manner:  (i)  All dust samples shall be taken using documented methodologies that incorporate adequate quality control procedures.  (ii)  All collected dust samples shall be analyzed by persons certified pursuant to New Jersey State Guidelines.

(4)  Paint shall be sampled in the following manner:   (i)  The analysis of paint to determine the presence of lead shall be conducted using documented methodologies which incorporate adequate quality control procedures; and/or   (ii)  All collected paint chip samples shall be analyzed by persons certified pursuant to New Jersey State Guidelines

(ii) Recommendations, if warranted, for a follow-up risk assessment, and as appropriate, any further actions.

(d) Risk assessment.

(1) A risk assessment shall be conducted only by a person certified by EPA as a risk assessor and, if conducted, must be conducted according to the procedures in this paragraph.

(2) A visual inspection for risk assessment of the residential dwelling or child-occupied facility shall be undertaken to locate the existence of deteriorated paint, assess the extent and causes of the deterioration, and other potential lead-based paint hazards.

(3) Background information regarding the physical characteristics of the residential dwelling or child-occupied facility and occupant use patterns that may cause lead-based paint exposure to one or more children age 6 years and under shall be collected.

(4) Each surface with deteriorated paint, which is determined, using documented methodologies, to be in poor condition and to have a distinct painting history, shall be tested for the presence of lead. Each other surface determined, using documented methodologies, to be a potential lead-based paint hazard and having a distinct painting history, shall also be tested for the presence of lead. 

(5) In residential dwellings, dust samples (either composite or single-surface samples) from the window and floor shall be collected in all living areas where one or more children, age 6 and under, are most likely to come into contact with dust.

(6) For multi-family dwellings and child-occupied facilities, the samples required in paragraph (d)(4) of this section shall be taken. In addition, window and floor dust samples (either composite or single-surface samples) shall be collected in the following locations: (i) Common areas adjacent to the sampled residential dwelling or child occupied facility; and (ii) Other common areas in the building where the risk assessor determines that one or more children, age 6 and under, are likely to come into contact with dust.472 40 CFR Ch. I (7±1±99 Edition) §745.227

(7) For child-occupied facilities, window and floor dust samples (either composite or single-surface samples) shall be collected in each room, hallway or stairwell utilized by one or more children, age 6 and under, and in other common areas in the child-occupied facility where the risk assessor determines one or more children, age 6 and under, are likely to come into contact with dust.

(8) Soil samples shall be collected and analyzed for lead concentrations in the following locations: (i) Exterior play areas where bare soil is present; and (ii) Dripline/foundation areas where bare soil is present.

(9) Any paint, dust, or soil sampling or testing shall be conducted using documented methodologies that incorporate adequate quality control procedures.

(10) Any collected paint chip, dust, or soil samples shall be analyzed according to paragraph (f) of this section to determine if they contain detectable levels of lead that can be quantified numerically.

(11)  The risk assessor shall prepare a lead hazard screen report, which shall include the following information:  

(i)  Date of assessment.   (ii)  Address of each building.   (iii)  Date of construction of buildings.   (iv)  Apartment number (if applicable).   (v)  Name, address, and telephone number of each owner of each building.   (vi)  Name, signature, and certification of the certified risk assessor conducting the assessment.   (vii)  Name, address, and telephone number of the certified firm employing each certified risk assessor.   (viii)  Name, address, and telephone number of each recognized laboratory conducting analysis of collected samples.   (ix)  Results of the visual inspection.   (x)  Testing methods and sampling procedure for paint analysis employed.   (xi)  Specific locations of each painted component tested for the presence of lead.   (xii)  All data collected from on-site testing, including quality control data and, if used, the serial number of any XRF device.   (xiii)  All results of laboratory analysis on collected paint, soil, and dust samples.   (xiv)  Any other sampling results.  (xv) Any background information collected pursuant to paragraph (d)(3) of this section. (xvi) To the extent that they are used as part of the lead-based paint hazard determination, the results of any previous inspections or analyses for the presence of lead-based paint, or other assessments of lead-based paint-related hazards. (xvii) A description of the location, type, and severity of identified lead-based paint hazards and any other potential lead hazards. (xviii) A description of interim controls (temporary) and/or abatement (permanent) options for each identified lead-based paint hazard and a suggested prioritization for addressing each hazard. If the use of an encapsulant or enclosure is recommended, the report shall recommend a maintenance and monitoring schedule for the encapsulant or enclosure.

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