News Releases from Region 01
BURLINGTON, Vt. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking steps to address the dangers of lead paint in Vermont, and throughout 2019, EPA has undertaken several efforts to reduce the public health risks associated with exposure to lead paint and dust that contains lead in communities across Vermont. Through compliance inspections and assistance, outreach to daycare centers and online trainings, EPA has been working to address lead in a state with many older homes, which are more likely to contain lead-based paint and can pose serious health impacts to children.
"EPA is committed to reducing the risks lead paint poses in communities across New England, especially now in Vermont," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel. "October is children's health month for EPA, so it's the perfect time to highlight the work we are doing in Vermont to ensure children are safe in the places where they live, learn and play."
EPA has designated the reduction of childhood lead exposures as a high priority. The actions announced today support the agency's implementation of the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts issued December 2018 (PDF) (24 pp, 8.9 MB, About PDF).
Beginning in June 2019, EPA staff conducted 25 inspections of construction and property management companies in five Vermont communities—Bennington, Brattleboro, Manchester, Rutland and Sunderland—to assess whether those businesses were complying with federal laws that require the safe handling and disposal of lead-based paint. EPA is currently analyzing the findings from these inspections and plans to pursue enforcement actions against the most serious violators.
In New England, EPA is responsible for implementing the federal Toxic Substances Control Act's (TSCA) Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Connecticut. EPA, in coordination with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is also responsible for implementing the Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rule across all six New England States. Both these federal laws pertain to pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities.
Before the inspections took place, EPA staff distributed compliance assistance information to 535 renovation contractors and property management firms this spring who are most likely to be subject to TSCA lead paint laws. Additionally, EPA hosted a webinar for contractors on June 5, 2019 that focused on how to comply with federal lead paint laws and outlined best practices for working safely with lead-based paint during renovations. EPA worked with the Vermont Department of Health to provide technical assistance to approximately 1,300 licensed child care centers identifying risks of lead exposure from drinking water, dust from lead-based paint and lead contaminated soil. Materials included how to hire a certified lead contractor, RRP training courses, state requirements and how to access lead-safe educational materials for parents. EPA products included a toolkit for child care facilities and a link to an online video training explaining the RRP rule requirements in Vermont.
On October 18, EPA announced a $25,000 grant to the University of Vermont that will help create a new partnership project between the university, middle school and high school teachers and students, and community partners to pilot a team-based approach to education, hazard reduction, and educational materials development related to addressing lead in water and soil in Burlington and Winooski.
The Vermont initiative is EPA's fifth geographic initiative in New England aimed reducing childhood lead exposure by increasing compliance and awareness of federal lead paint laws, strengthening partnerships and leveraging expertise among federal, state and local government and community groups to help inform the public about the dangers of lead. In 2018, EPA completed a lead-based paint initiative in the Seacoast area of New England, comprising communities in and around Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Portland, Maine. During that initiative, EPA completed 59 lead inspections over two years, leading to 286 more certifications of companies or firms and 1,156 more training certifications of individuals documenting their compliance with the certification aspects of federal lead renovation rules.
To see a full list of the FY 2019 lead enforcement actions: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/epas-lead-based-paint-enforcement-helps-protect-children-and-vulnerable-communities-2019
To view the Progress Report on the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts, visit: https://www.epa.gov/leadactionplanimplementation/progress-report-federal-action-plan-reduce-childhood-lead-exposures-and
Members of the public can help protect our environment by identifying and reporting environmental violations. Learn more here: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/report-environmental-violation-general-information