Effective April 22, 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair, and painting projects in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must now be certified and adhere to specific work guidelines to prevent lead contamination, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Program. In addition to lead-safe work practices, certified contractors must also follow these three simple procedures:
- Contain the work area
- Minimize dust
- Clean up thoroughly
A commercial vacuum cleaner featuring true HEPA filtration can help you remain RRP-compliant and avoid the health risks associated with exposure to lead dust and chips that often result during renovation and repair activities.
According to the RRP rules set forth in 40 CFR, Part 745, Subpart E, walls must be cleaned from the ceiling to the floor using either a HEPA vacuum or a damp cloth. Additionally, any remaining surfaces in the work area, including all furniture and fixtures, must be thoroughly cleaned with a HEPA vacuum. When vacuuming carpets and rugs, the vacuum must also have a beater bar.
So, exactly what is a HEPA vacuum? HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air filter. Vacuums equipped with HEPA filters are capable of capturing 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns and larger, which include dust, pet dander, and other airborne irritants.
Brands such as Nilfisk and Minuteman offer a variety of high-efficiency vacuums well-equipped to tackle lead issues at your worksite. For example, the Nilfisk GM80 features multi-stage filtration in addition to HEPA filtration. The GM80 also offers an optional Turbo-Powered Floor Nozzle with Brush to comprehensively clean carpets, removing any heavy lead particulates.
Minuteman offers the Minuteman Lead Vacuum, which features a ULPA (Ultra-Low Particulate Air) filter that removes up to 99.999% of microns 0.12 and larger—along with the necessary HEPA filter. Both of these models are great choices for remaining RRP-compliant.
For more information about vacuums, or for help choosing the best model for your cleaning tasks, check out our Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide, as well as other air treatment resources in our Learning Center.
To find a Lead-Safe certification course in your area, visit: http://cfpub.epa.gov/flpp/searchrrp_training.htm.