Renovator Corner - Lead-Safe Renovation Rule Background/History - Questions and Answers


Question:  What is the Lead-Safe Renovation Rule?

The Lead-Safe Renovation Rule regulates renovation, repair and painting activities performed for compensation in housing and child occupied facilities built prior to 1978. These properties may contain lead-based paint on building components (walls, doors, windows, trim, siding, floors, etc.). Lead hazards are created when old paint is disturbed during renovation, repair and painting activities. The rule has five main requirements: 

  1. Information must be provided to owners and occupants before work begins. 
  2. Training and certification.
  3. Use of lead-safe work practices and cleaning techniques.
  4. Final cleaning verification.
  5. Recordkeeping.
Question:  Is the Lead-Safe Renovator Rule a state or federal rule?

Wisconsin’s Lead-Safe Renovator Rule, DHS 163, is administered and enforced by the WI Department of Health Services’ Lead and Asbestos Section in the Division of Public Health.  

Wisconsin’s rule is based on a federal EPA rule, 40 CFR Part 745, “Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Program” that was published on April 22, 2008.  On October 20, 2009 EPA authorized the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to administer and enforce the state rule in lieu of EPA administering and enforcing the federal rule in Wisconsin .

Question: When does the Lead-Safe Renovation Rule go into effect?
Answer: Both the federal and the state rule went into full effect on April 22, 2010. Beginning on April 22nd, persons conducting regulated renovation activities must be trained, certified and comply with work practice, cleaning and recordkeeping requirements.  
Question:  Why does this rule apply to homes and child occupied facilities built prior to 1978?
Answer:  Lead was banned from use in consumer paints in 1978.  Housing and facilities built before 1978 may contain lead-based paint.
Question: Why is this rule important?
Answer: This rule protects occupants, especially children, from being exposed to lead-based paint hazards during and after renovation, repair and painting activities that disturb painted surfaces. Children exposed to lead dust and debris run the risk of lead poisoning that causes permanent injury and affects the child’s mental and physical health, well-being and success throughout the life span.
Question: Does the Lead-Safe Renovation Rule apply to homeowners conducting renovation activities on their own single-family residence?

No. The rule does not apply to homeowners conducting renovation activities in their own single-family residence if their home is occupied solely by the owner and the owner’s immediate family.

Note: If an owner hires a contractor to conduct renovation work on a pre-1978 home then training and certification is required.

Question: If I am a renovator what are my health concerns?

Health effects on adults not exposed as children (exit DHS) - The toxic nature of lead is well documented. Lead affects all organs and functions of the body to varying degrees. The frequency and severity of symptoms among exposed individuals depends upon the amount and duration of exposure. The list below shows many of the key health effects in adults who have been exposed to lead as adults.

  • Neurological Effects 
    • Fatigue / Irritability 
    • Impaired concentration 
    • Hearing loss 
    • Wrist / Foot drop 
    • Seizures 
    • Encephalopathy 
  • Gastrointestinal Effects 

    • Nausea 
    • Dyspepsia 
    • Constipation 
    • Colic 
    • Lead line on gingival tissue 
  • Reproductive Effects 
    • Miscarriages/Stillbirths 
    • Reduced sperm count & motility 
    • Abnormal sperm 
  • Heme Synthesis 
    • Anemia 
    • Erythrocyte protoporphyrin elevation 
  • Renal Effects 
    • Chronic nephropathy with proximal tubular damage 
    • Hypertension 
  • Other 
    • Arthralgia 
    • Myalgia 


Question: How do I find out more information on the Lead-Safe Renovation Rule?
Answer: Visit the Lead-Safe Wisconsin website, Google WI lead, or call the Lead and Asbestos Certification Unit at 608-261-6876.
Overview of the Rule - Informational sessions on the Lead-Safe Renovation Rule for c, trades, painters, rental property owners and the general public were held throughout the state in January, February and March. Click on the link to view the PowerPoint slide presentation from these sessions.

The Legacy of Lead Report - The report reveals the alarming scope of childhood lead poisoning in Wisconsin, discusses its causes and effects, and provides a systematic plan to eliminate the problem.

Last Revised: November 25, 2014