Avoiding Lead Paint Renovation Fines

Washington, DC – The EPA is serious about compliance, especially when it comes to home renovations containing lead-based paint. “Reducing childhood lead exposure and the associated health impacts is a top priority for EPA,” states an EPA news release. “That’s why EPA inspectors will be working actively in overburdened communities … to encourage greater compliance with the federal Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule.” 

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EPA Fines Missouri Home Renovators for Alleged Lead-Based Paint Violations

WDRB Springfield, MO

Two Missouri home renovation companies have agreed to pay almost $10,000 collectively in penalties to the EPA to resolve alleged violations of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. According to EPA, Swedlund Construction LLC of St. Louis and Rozell Siding and Windows Inc. of Springfield failed to comply with regulations intended to reduce the hazards of lead-based paint exposure during renovations. In both cases, EPA alleged that the companies failed to obtain EPA renovator certification and failed to assign a certified renovator prior to performing renovations. EPA says that Swedlund Construction also failed to comply with multiple safety practices while performing renovations, such as containing the spread of renovation dust and debris as well as warning occupants and other people to remain outside the worksite. 

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HGTV ‘Good Bones’ Settles US EPA Actions, Accepts $40k Fines for Lead Paint Violations

Haring Indianapolis, IN

EPA said Friday that it had reached a settlement with Two Chicks and a Hammer, Inc. — the company founded by mother-daughter duo Karen E. Laine and Mina Starsiak Hawk. The settlement indicates they allegedly violated a federal lead paint law. Good Bones follows Starsiak Hawk, a real estate agent and mother of two, and her mom, Laine, a lawyer, as they buy dilapidated properties in their hometown of Indianapolis. During each episode, the pair demos a house down to the studs and renovate it into a dazzling family home, while offering a glimpse into their personal lives. 

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How Two Industries Stymied Justice for Young Lead Paint Victims

New York Times by Ellen Gabler

National – The U.S. insurance and real estate industries have waged a decades-long campaign to avoid liability in lead cases, helping to prolong an epidemic. The cost for millions of children has been incalculable. Although lead poisoning has decreased substantially since the late 1970s as a result of regulatory actions and public health initiatives, about 500,000 children under 6 have elevated blood lead levels in the United States and are at risk of harm. The issue has only intensified in the era of Covid-19: Rental inspections lagged, exposure increased as people spent more time at home and testing of children fell by 50 percent at times in 2020. 

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By March 2023 All Cleveland Rentals Built Before 1978 Must Be Certified As Lead-Safe

WKYC Cleveland, OH

Cleveland has just a year left to roll out its new lead-safe requirements. The city is enforcing the lead rules a few ZIP codes at a time. By March 2023, all rentals built before 1978 – the year Congress banned lead paint – must be certified with the city as lead-safe. After a slow start, Cleveland saw a surge in lead-safe applications in the final months of 2021, according to data compiled by the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at Case Western Reserve University, which audits the lead program. 

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Half of Americans Live With the Legacy of Childhood Lead Poisoning

Health Day by Denise Mann

National –  If you were born before 1996, there’s a good chance you were exposed to high levels of lead as a kid, and new research suggests this may have harmed your IQ and boosted your chances of lead-related health concerns down the road. Fully 170 million, or more than half of all Americans who were alive in 2015, had early-life lead levels above 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (?g/dL), the previous cut-off for concern, Reuben’s team found. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently changed this cut-off to 3.5 µg/dL, suggesting that even more people may be at risk for health issues due to childhood lead poisoning. 

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MyChesCo Harrisburg, PA

The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) recently released two new lead poisoning reports for the state of Pennsylvania: the Birth Cohort Report and the Childhood Lead Surveillance Report. The findings include data and statistics from 2017 to 2020. One in three Pennsylvania children with Medicaid health insurance are not getting tested for lead poisoning before their second birthday, despite the required Medicaid testing. One report shows that the rate of Pennsylvania children with elevated blood lead levels has remained essentially the same for the last two years at a rate of 4.65. This is a rate two times higher than children poisoned in Flint, Michigan, at the peak of the city’s crisis. 

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EPA Affirms Its Intention to Hold Property Management Companies Responsible for Lead-Based Paint Safety Requirements for Renovations

National Law Review by Sarah L. Lode, Joshua R. More, & J. Michael Showalter

Washington, DC – Property management companies (PMC) need to pay attention to a recent change in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) enforcement discretion concerning liability from renovations that could encounter lead-based paint. EPA has announced a change to its enforcement priorities for the Lead Renovation Repair and Paintings (RRP) Rule, which applies to renovations, repairs, or painting that could disturb lead-based paint in certain buildings constructed before 1978. Following the change, PMCs themselves, in addition to contractors hired, will be required to be trained by EPA-approved training providers and certify that they follow lead-safe work practices when conducting regulated renovations. 

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Study to Reduce Children’s Exposure to Lead Dust

MSU Today Michigan State University, MI

Lead exposure from contaminated water has gotten much justifiable attention lately, but another major source lurks in the dust of countless older homes. Researchers at the MSU College of Human Medicine are conducting a study of whether portable air filters can mitigate lead exposure and reduce lead levels in the blood of children who live in older houses. The 3-year study supported by a HUD grant will include 40 families who live in housing built in Ingham County before 1970 and have children under six years of age with blood lead levels above five micrograms per deciliter. 

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CDC Updates Blood Lead Reference Value

CDC Washington, DC

The negative impact of lead exposure on young children and those who become pregnant is well documented but is not well known by those at highest risk from this hazard. Scientific evidence suggests that there is no known safe blood lead level (BLL), because even small amounts of lead can be harmful to a child’s developing brain. During a May 2021 meeting of the LEPAC, the workgroup recommended that the BLRV be updated from 5 µg/dL to 3.5 µg/dL using data derived from the two most recent NHANES cycles (2015–2016 and 2017–2018), and the LEPAC voted unanimously to accept this recommendation. 

Click here for the full report. 

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