Since its invention, lead paint has been a quiet but persistent threat to human health. Yet only recently, in the past few decades, has the true severity of its hazards come to light. In the late '70s, the U.S. government finally banned lead paint - and, in the process, likely protected a huge number of adults and children from paint-based lead poisoning. Still, prohibiting the sale and use of lead paint wasn't enough. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency went further, requiring that companies whose employees work around lead paint become certified according to a set of EPA guidelines. Like the 1978 ban, this government policy may be long overdue, but it's definitely better late than never. Now contractors who specialize in home renovation, repair, or painting (RRP) must obtain certification and follow very specific safety practices. The new program costs individual firms a bit more time and money, but in terms of health, it's bound to pay great dividends to both the public and RRP workers themselves. The EPA first published its Lead-Safe Certification Program in April of 2008. Two years later to the day, the measure took effect. It affects all workers who interact with lead paint in homes, schools, or child-care centers constructed before 1978. During the past few years, the agency has raised awareness about lead-safe certification, and the importance of hiring only certified companies, through a far-reaching PR campaign. According to the EPA's projections, more than 200,000 U.S. contractors will have worked on pre-1978 properties between April of 2010 and April of 2011. When it isn't being sanded, scraped, heated, or otherwise disturbed, lead 
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