EPA fines firms for violating lead paint safety rules

Lead paint has been banned in homes and apartment buildings since 1978, but children are still in danger of lead poisoning because the paint and dust may remain in residential properties. As a result, construction and painting companies must take special care when they renovate or repaint homes that may have lead in them.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforces the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule. This rule requires the companies to adopt work practices that make sure that lead dust does not linger after renovation, repair or painting in buildings that have lead paint. The EPA recently announced fines against 17 companies for violations of the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule, including two in New York.

A Manhattan firm was cited for work on a residential property built before 1978. The firm did not have proper certifications to work on a house constructed before 1978, when lead-based paints could still be used in houses. The firm also did not provide proper information about lead hazards to the property owners, and did not use safe work practices such as posting signs, using extra precautions to contain the work area, covering doors with plastic sheeting and other steps. It will pay a $1,500 penalty.

A Brooklyn firm was also cited. The EPA says the company did not maintain records that showed its compliance with the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule. It received a $2,040 fine.

Exposure to lead can cause significant health effects, especially in young children. Children with high levels of lead in their bodies may suffer from brain and nervous system damage, behavioral problems, slowed growth, headaches, hearing problems and other problems.

Source: Environmental Protection Agency, “Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule,” May 2, 2013