In a recent EPA RRP Training class at morning break, I witnessed something I hadn't seen all year. We had just completed module 1 and 2 of the Certified Renovator class. I went outside to get some fresh air and return a phone call. After my call, a contractor standing near by was speaking passionately on the phone. He was speaking to his wife about what he had just learned about the effects of lead poisoning on children and how it can be brought home on clothing. He voice was full of concern as he asked his wife to call their pediatrician right away to schedule a blood lead test for his two children.
We walked back to the class together and along the way we starting talking about what was just covered in class and his concern that he may have exposed his children to lead dust. The contractor told me he had been doing extensive demolition in older homes. He said after work he hops in the truck and sometimes picks up the kids from the sitter. As soon as he sees the kids he gives them a big hug. On days he doesn't pick up the kids he goes home and as soon as daddy walks in the door the first thing the kids do is run to hug him. This contractor says that when our instructor Peter went over the way lead dust can be transported on our clothing and in our work vehicle, a chill ran through his body. He said the instructor described me. The contractor said he didn't realize a little bit of dust can cause lead poisoning. He went on to say he was just working the way he always has.
Later in the day I caught up with the contractor and he said no longer will he be hugging his kids or wife after a day of demolition without changing his clothes. He won't be picking up his kids in his dirty truck. He went on to thank us for teaching him ways to protect himself and his family. I could see and feel that our team had made a difference.
The EPA RRP Lead Law is a challenging regulation for many contractors in this tough economy. When the effects of lead poisoning don't affect you or your family directly, sometimes it is hard to see why we have to do the RRP practices. I have heard many contractors this year question the need for this regulation. Some say that will never happen to me or my family.
I continue to learn about lead posioning cases every week and wonder why with all the knowledge we have, some contractors choose to ignore the dangers?