EPA cracks down on lead exposure violations

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday announced settlement agreements with dozens of businesses found to have violated the agency’s regulations on lead dust exposure.

The enforcement actions will require 35 home renovation contractors around the United States to comply with the agency's Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Standards and pay more than $274,000 in civil penalties.

The regulations, enacted under the Toxic Substances Control Act, are meant to protect families who live in older houses from heightened lead exposure risks during renovations, which often stir up poisonous dust.

“Families deserve the peace of mind that home renovations occur without harming children,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Businesses that play by the rules deserve to compete on a level playing field. EPA will continue to enforce the nation’s lead rules to protect the public from illegal and dangerous lead exposure.” 

Seventeen of the settlements reached over the last year involve contractors that neglected to obtain required certification before starting work on homes built before 1978. In 21 of the cases, the firms failed to follow “lead-safe” work practices.

Three cases involve general contractors who didn’t make sure their subcontractors followed the regulations.