WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that over 100 federal enforcement actions completed over the last year that require entities like renovation contractors, landlords and property managers to protect communities and public health from exposure to lead.
Lead paint is the main way people are exposed to lead in the United States, and lead exposure can cause a range of health problems, from behavioral disorders and learning disabilities to seizures and death, putting young children and their developing nervous systems at the greatest risk.
If your home was built before 1978, there is a good chance it has lead-based paint. In 1978, the federal government banned consumer uses of lead-containing paint, but some states banned it even earlier. Lead from paint, including lead-contaminated dust, is one of the most common causes of lead poisoning.
From October 2015 through September 2016, EPA entered into 123 settlements for alleged violations of one or more of the three lead-based paint rules–the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule; the Lead Disclosure Rule; and the Lead-based Paint Activities Rule for abatements–and filed six complaints for ongoing actions. Each settlement requires that the alleged violator return to compliance and, in most cases, pay civil penalties. Collectively, the settlements require violators to pay $1,046,655 in penalties.
Of the total settlements reported during fiscal year 2016, 116 cited alleged RRP Rule violations involving repair, renovation or painting projects where lead-based paint is disturbed. Approximately 63 percent of this year’s cases alleged failure to obtain EPA certification and almost half cited non-compliance with requirements to ensure lead-safe work practices.
The Lead-based Paint Activities Rule requires that abatement contractors be trained and certified, and follow abatement-specific lead-safe work practices. EPA-authorized states typically implement and enforce the abatement requirements of this rule. However, during fiscal year 2016, EPA took action in two cases. In one case, Lead Me Out Environmental Services, Inc. of New York paid a civil penalty of $20,000 for alleged abatement violations.