Anthony D'Agostino, a painter and restoration contractor who advertises his business in Portland as eco-friendly, said he believes in strict laws on lead paint removal to protect the health of children.

But he said some provisions in the federal regulations that took effect Thursday attempt too much, too soon.

"This whole thing couldn't be worse timing. They should have done this three or four years ago, before the economy crashed," D'Agostino said.

He is among thousands of painters, plumbers, replacement window installers and other contractors nationwide who are grappling with Environmental Protection Agency regulations requiring lead-safe practices when working on homes built before 1978, the year lead paint was banned. From The Portland Press Herald.