avoid contractor ripoffUPDATED 2/14/2017: Lead poisoning is still a big concern for families especially those living in older homes. If you’re having remodeling done, there’s a lead paint contractor certification you need to ask for to make sure your family is safe. 

Lead-safe certification

Lead paint is common in older homes. When children are exposed, the lead can poison them if ingested. We all know kids love to put things in their mouth, so children living in older homes can get lead poisoning.

That’s why the government requires contractors to pass a test and get certified if they are working in a home with lead paint, and plan to disturb that paint.

The law requires a certification for contractors who work in a home or childcare facility built before 1978, and plan to work in an area with lead paint. The contractor needs the special lead certification if the work will disturb more than six square feet of lead-based paint inside the home or business or 20 square feet outside.

However, an investigation done in 2011 found contractors are not following the law. It was a new law then, but the lack of concern and education among contractors was surprising.

5 ways to avoid getting ripped off by a contractor

Is your contractor certified to work in your home?

Make sure you ask your contractor about the lead certification and be informed if they dismiss the need for it.

My investigation found the majority of contractors registered to do work are not certified. This includes window contractors, and windows are the #1 source of lead poisoning.  We brought contractors into a home filled with hidden cameras to see what they’re telling consumers.

The investigation also uncovered problems with the Environmental Protection Agency’s enforcement. The EPA filed no actions until one day before the scheduled air date for our story. Even then, it took a YouTube video posted seven months ago for the EPA to do anything.

The EPA hasn’t updated its list of revoked and suspended certifications since 2013.

Now, two Cleveland area Congressional leaders are vowing to take action to get this law enforced.

While it’s a federal law, local communities and states are making enforcement their job.

Search the EPA’s database of Lead Safe certified contractors.