EPA reaches settlements with eight Washington renovators for lead-based paint violations

News Releases from Region 10

05/04/2021

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached settlements with eight residential home renovators in Washington for violations of federal lead-based paint regulations.

Lead-contaminated dust from chipped or peeling lead-based paint in homes built prior to 1978 is one of the most common causes of elevated blood lead levels in children. Renovators of pre-1978 housing are required by federal law to obtain EPA Firm Certification. They must also obtain Renovator certification or assign certified renovators to projects; inform tenants and residents of possible lead-based paint and/or known lead hazards; and comply with work practice requirements intended to reduce lead-based paint exposure.

Under the terms of the settlements (linked below), the companies agreed to pay civil penalties and to certify that they are in compliance with the Renovation, Repair and Painting certification requirements prior to offering and performing renovations, as required by the RRP Rule. The companies are:

“Reducing exposure to lead-based paint, especially among children, is a top priority for EPA,” said Ed Kowalski, director of EPA Region 10’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division. “The Agency is committed to ensuring that home renovators follow the law and protect people from exposure.”

Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of lead because their brains and nervous systems are still developing. They can be exposed to lead from multiple sources and may experience irreversible and lifelong health effects.

Lead dust can be generated when lead-based paint deteriorates or is disturbed. And with more kids spending more time in the home during the COVID-19 pandemic, their risk of exposure to lead chips and dust may increase.

About 3.6 million American households have children under six who live in homes with lead exposure hazards. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 500,000 American children between 1 and 5 have blood lead levels at or above the CDC blood lead reference value (the level at which the CDC recommends that public health actions begin).

EPA’s Lead-Safe Home Repair Certification Program protects consumers – and contractors

It’s important to remember that lead-based paint on walls and other surfaces that is still in good condition is not a health hazard because it can’t be ingested or inhaled. However, improper removal or disturbance of lead-based paint can create lead dust and paint chips that create a health hazard. People planning a renovation, repair, or painting project on a home or an apartment built before 1978 should make sure to do the work safely and/or use a certified lead-safe contractor.

If property owners choose to hire someone to do the work on their properties, they should hire a contractor certified under EPA’s or their state’s Lead renovation, repair, and painting (RRP) program. Contractors intending to work on properties built before 1978 must be certified under the program. Failure to do so can result in penalties against a contractor.

Please visit these EPA websites for additional lead paint information:

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