The National Institute of Painting and Decorating warns that changes in the Home Building Regulation present a serious risk to the health of the NSW public. The changes were recently passed by the NSW Parliament.

According to the National Institute of Painting and Decorating, a peak industry body for the painting industry, the new legislation was passed without sufficient consultation with industry stakeholders, and poses an unacceptable risk to the industry as well as the wider community. Calling upon the Minister for Fair Trading, The Hon. Matthew Mason-Cox to amend the new legislation due to come into effect on January 15th, NIPD spokesman Mr Daniel Wurm said they are requesting the Minister to keep the existing licensing requirements for painting work on home interiors, including work under $5000.

These concerns have been raised in the context of the presence of lead paint and asbestos in residential buildings. Toxic lead paint is found in high concentrations in most buildings in NSW built before 1971 with known effects of lead paint on human health including risk to pregnant women, impaired brain development in babies and children, and anaemia in adults. Exposure commonly occurs during home renovations on older homes when lead paint flakes and dust are ingested or inhaled by children or unsuspecting DIY enthusiasts.

Asbestos is found in most buildings built before 1990, and inhalation of asbestos fibres during paint preparation can cause various lung diseases, including asbestosis.

The National Institute of Painting and Decorating recommends that these highly toxic materials must be identified and treated by trained and licensed tradespeople, including painters. Mr Wurm explains the current requirement that only licensed painters can carry out painting works worth over $1000 on the interior of NSW homes should remain to protect the health of homeowners.

Painting of home interiors containing lead paint or asbestos by untrained and unlicensed persons will pose significant health risks to children, babies, and adults by exposing them to lead paint dust and asbestos fibres during preparation.

He added that licensing protects the public from unqualified and untrained contractors, and associated health risks.