EPA accuses ‘Fixer Upper’ stars of violating lead paint rules

EPA accuses ‘Fixer Upper’ stars of violating lead paint rules
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The stars of the hit HGTV renovation show “Fixer Upper” violated federal regulations for mishandling lead-based paint, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said.

Magnolia Homes, owned by “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, agreed Tuesday to pay a $40,000 fine to the EPA and complete $160,000 of lead abatement work around their hometown of Waco, Texas, among other measures, as part of the settlement with the federal government.

“Fixer Upper” follows the Gaines family as they work to renovate and style the homes of local families in the Texas town. The show has hosted former first lady Laura Bush as a guest. The series is currently airing its final season.

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The EPA says the program didn't show the Gaineses and others taking proper precautions to avoid lead exposure to workers and residents when working on buildings built before 1978 that could have lead-based paint.

Officials accused the couple of mishandling paint that could have contained lead in 33 of the properties they renovated — a violation of the Residential Property Renovation Rule, implemented under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the EPA says.

Magnolia could have faced up to $556,000 in fines for the violation.

“It’s important that consumers and contractors understand that improper home renovation can expose residents and workers to hazardous lead dust,” Susan Bodine, head of enforcement at the EPA, said in a statement.

“Through this settlement, Magnolia is putting in place safeguards to ensure the safety of its renovation work and making meaningful contributions toward the protection of children and vulnerable communities from exposure to lead-based paint.”

The conditions for the settlement dictate that Magnolia must adopt new record-keeping processes and must make a video featuring Chip Gaines discussing lead paint and the importance of complying with the federal rules. Gaines already mentioned lead paint testing and precautions in a March episode.

Inhalation and ingestion of lead can cause kidney and nervous system damage, especially in young children.

Magnolia didn’t admit to any of the allegations the EPA made.

— Miranda Green contributed.