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California Adopts Strict Lead-Safe Work Practices Rules (Paint Related)

On April 30, 2008, California’s new lead poisoning prevention law went into effect.

The law and rules promulgated by the state apply to everyone who remodels, demolishes, or paints residential buildings constructed before 1978.

The rules apply to contractors, rental property owners, tenants, homeowners, and maintenance staff.

Those working in pre-1978 buildings are required to use lead-safe work practices, including those required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Lead-Safe Housing Rule. Contractors and others can be exempted from the rule, but only if they have paint in the building tested and prove it to be lead-free. Only state-certified lead inspectors and risk assessors can perform such tests.

Failure to follow the lead-safe practices rules can result in fines of up to $1,000 per violation. Any city or county health department, building department, housing department, or environmental agency may enforce the lead-safe work practices requirements.

The new rules are a good example of how states can work proactively to fill in the gaps left by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lead-safe remodeling and renovation rule, which was finalized in late March.

For more on California’s new lead-safe work practices rules, visit For more on EPA’s remodeling and renovation rule, see

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