When paint chips and paint dust are ingested or inhaled, they can cause serious medical problems. (WRDW-TV / Nov. 7, 2011)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Nov. 7, 2011
AUGUSTA, S.C. -- The Georgia Environmental Protection Division is cracking down on contractors that are not Lead-Safe certified.
In 2010, Georgia enacted a law that requires all contractors who may possibly disturb lead-based paint to take a certification class. The contract company and a supervisor must both be certified.
In July 2011, the state began fining contractors not certified. So far, only about 10 percent of Georgia contractors are certified in the program.
Many homes and buildings built before 1978 contain lead-based paint. The paint is especially hazardous to children under the age of seven and pregnant women. When paint chips and paint dust are ingested or inhaled, they can cause serious medical problems.
Seventy-five percent of Richmond County Schools are more than 33 years old. The school certified several of their maintenance men in the Lead Safe program.
Apartment complexes and other rental property groups with rentals built before 1978 are required to have someone on hand trained in the program.
There are federal guidelines for contractors dealing with lead-based paint, but Georgia's are stricter.
You can check to see if your contractor is certified by visiting the EPA's website. Certified contractors are also required to hand you a booklet on lead-based paint and have you sign a document.