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What are the ramifications health/environmental of the production and disposal of 6 mil plastic required in lead safe projects?r

GBA Editor | Posted in General Questions on

The New EPA rules require the use and disposal of 6 mil plastic in all lead safe projects. The simple preparation of an average sized bedroom could use a minimum of 12 yards of plastic, the paint and prep of a 2000 square foot single family ranch could use well over 200 yards of plastic on the floors alone, plastic will also be required for doorways, windows, immovable furniture, if the exterior is also painted add an additional 300 yards. 500 yards of plastic not including plastic covering, doors, windows and vents.

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  1. Riversong | | #1

    That's an excellent question, and one not likely considered by the EPA in promulgating its Lead-Safe regulations. UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES!

    Polyethylene, like all petrochemical plastics, has extremely high embodied energy, and hence embodied global warming (40-50,000 BTUs per pound or about 2.5 million BTUs per cubic foot).

    It does not biodegrade in landfills, though in exposure to UV it will break down into smaller parts and get distributed by wind into the environment, possibly contributing to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

    In my Lead-Safe training course, I noted that 3M was mentioned many times as a producer of the materials needed to follow EPA guidelines. I can't help but wonder which lobbyists participated in the regulatory development process and whom it really benefits.


  2. James Carr AIA LEED | | #2

    Fantastic question! This rule should be and probably will be overturned soon. It also requires builders to set their ladders on the stuff. Sure they are supposed to stake them down -- just like they ate supposed to rope off! This is an ill-concieved, dangerous example of beurocracy disconnected fro

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