American Coatings Association

ACA and the paint industry support awareness efforts and proper action on environmental lead exposures arising from old, deteriorated paint. Starting with industry consensus standards restricting the use of lead in paint and subsequent early state and federal regulations, ACA has actively followed and advised the legislative and regulatory process and supported industry compliance, through required testing, product labeling and other customer support efforts.

The current effort to address deteriorated lead paint in housing has gone through an evolutionary process in the United States.

While acknowledged hazards to children from eating “paint chips” and from mouthing or chewing toys, cribs or other surfaces containing lead paint served as the genesis for the eventual 1977 ban on lead use in decorative and household paints, lead-containing dust in residences has become the current and main concern.

The emerging understanding that intact paint containing lead does not present a hazard unless disturbed, either by sanding, demolishing or other renovation-related activities required new communications from public health officials.

Early efforts to eliminate (i.e., completely remove or render inaccessible by constructing barriers or though application of an approved encapsulant product) old, deteriorated paint containing lead focused on establishing abatement standards, which require detailed training and certification and careful implementation.

More recently the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the current national regulatory scheme to address lead dust exposure arising from more typical renovation, remodeling and painting activities in target (pre-1978) housing. Known as the Renovation, Remodeling and Painting (RRP) Rule, these regulations have required all contractors working in housing built before 1978 to demonstrate certification to follow “lead safe work practices.”

Support for CLEARCorps & NELCC

In 1994, the National Paint and Coatings Association (NPCA) — as ACA was formerly known — and other interested housing industry groups worked to establish the Community Lead Education and Reduction Corps (CLEARCorps). Over the past 20 years, CLEARCorps has grown in size and capabilities, always working closely with public health and housing agencies to establish targeted, feasible and effective ways to address lead-based paint hazards in housing. CLEARCorps has enjoyed great success and continues to develop new resources to advance the goal of childhood lead poisoning prevention and lead-safe housing:

ACA has also been a longstanding supporter of the efforts of the New England Lead Coordinating Committee (NELCC) at the University of Connecticut (Storrs). NELCC has served as a resources to the EPA (Region 1) and to the public health departments in the New England states as they sought to address the problem of old, deteriorated lead paint in housing. Due to its long history of efforts to combat lead exposure and establish targeted, feasible and effective remediation methods for dealing with lead-based paint hazards, NELCC and its members have developed some very useful resources, including “Don’t Spread Lead,” which provided additional details on how to undertake simple renovation and remodeling activities, including painting, in housing which contained lead paint.

With the finalization of the EPA’s RRP Rule, NELCC collaborated with creative resources to expand the “Don’t Spread Lead” program to offer instructional videos that advise property owners and residents on how to undertake work around the house in a “lead safe” manner. These videos are maintained by the University of Connecticut Health Environments for Children (HEC) Initiative at:

International Efforts

ACA, working with the members of the International Paint and Printing Ink Council (IPPIC), is providing industry support for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and World Health Organization (WHO) efforts to establish a Lead Paint Alliance (LPA). This effort, seeks to engage governments in the developing economies to act and put in place legislation, regulation or other formal legal instruments to eliminate the use of lead in paints. Starting with the use of lead in decorative paint, IPPIC has endorsed the effort as it is in line with existing restrictions among industrialized nations. For more information on IPPIC’s efforts on lead in paint and the LPA, visit

Additional Resources

For Information on Lead in Consumer Products

Don’t Spread Lead – English

Don’t Spread Lead – Spanish

Renovate Right – English

Renovate Right – Spanish

Information on the EPA RRP Rule for Painting Contractors

Information on International Efforts to Eliminate Lead in Paint


For more information:

Stephen Sides
Vice President, Science, Technology and Environmental Policy
(202) 462-8731

Marie Clarke
Counsel, Government Affairs
(202) 719-3682