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News Releases from Region 07

Enforcement Actions Help Protect Vulnerable Communities in the Region from Lead-Based Paint Health Hazards

Contact Information: 
National media: Tricia Lynn (lynn.tricia@epa.gov)
202-564-2615, 202-564-4355
Region 7 media: Angela Brees (brees.angela@epa.gov)

Environmental News


EPA seal(Lenexa, Kan., Nov. 8, 2016) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that 33 entities in the Heartland states of Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska were the target of federal enforcement actions over the last year that require entities like renovation contractors, landlords, and property managers to protect communities and public health from exposure to lead.

Lead paint is the main way people are exposed to lead in the U.S., and lead exposure can cause a range of health problems from behavioral disorders and learning disabilities to seizures and death, putting young children and their developing nervous systems at the greatest risk.

“Renovation companies and their contractors must protect children and other vulnerable people from lead-based paint exposure, especially in minority and low-income communities where housing with lead-based paint is more common,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “These enforcement actions show that EPA will hold companies accountable when they put public health at risk, and they promote a level playing field for businesses that follow the rules.”

From October 2015 through September 2016, EPA entered into 123 settlements nationally for alleged violations of one or more of the three lead-based paint rules: Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule; Lead Disclosure Rule; and Lead-based Paint Activities Rule for abatements – and filed six complaints for ongoing actions. Each settlement requires that the alleged violator return to compliance and, in most cases, pay civil penalties. Collectively, the settlements require violators to pay $1,046,655 in penalties.

The three rules are part of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act and the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, and apply to housing built before 1978 and child-occupied facilities. Ensuring compliance with all three rules enables EPA to identify and address a variety of lead exposure risks that occur in communities across the nation. These risks can occur when lead paint deteriorates or is disrupted during home renovation and remodeling activities. A blood lead test is the only way to determine if a child has a high lead level. Parents who think their child has been in contact with lead dust should contact their child's health care provider.

In September 2016, EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement with Sears Home Improvement Products Inc. that resolves alleged violations of the Lead RRP Rule for work performed by Sears’ contractors during home renovation projects across the country. Under the settlement, Sears will implement a comprehensive, corporate-wide program to ensure that the contractors it hires to perform work minimize lead dust from home renovation activities and pay a $400,000 civil penalty.

In three of the settlements, entities agreed to fund voluntary environmental projects collectively valued at up to $409,429 to address lead risks and poisoning. Every project requires lead-based paint abatement, including post-construction clearance testing to ensure that no hazards remain. The complaints propose penalties of up to $197,743 for alleged violations of the RRP Rule and/or Lead Disclosure Rule.

Region 7 Enforcement Actions:

Settlements of $15,000 or More in Civil Penalties

  • Altman Charter Co. (Mo.) paid a $15,526 fine for alleged RRP Rule violations related to certification, pre-renovation education, and recordkeeping requirements.

Settlements of $10,000 or More in Civil Penalties

Settlements of Less Than $10,000 in Civil Penalties

In each of the following settlements, the company paid a fine of less than $10,000, which generally reflects a reduction based on ability to pay, or qualification as a micro-business under the RRP Rule penalty program for micro-businesses. Every case obtained compliance. All are RRP Rule settlements, except one.

Expedited Settlement Agreements

  • EPA entered into an Expedited Settlement Agreement for alleged RRP Rule violations with Blackbird Construction, LLC (Mo.). These agreements allow violators to quickly resolve certain minor infractions (not including work practice violations) with a reduced penalty, in this case $200.


Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule Enforcement Action

Of the total settlements reported nationally during fiscal year 2016, 116 cited alleged RRP Rule violations involving repair, renovation or painting projects where lead-based paint is disturbed. Approximately 63 percent of this year’s cases alleged failure to obtain EPA certification, and almost half cited noncompliance with requirements to ensure lead-safe work practices.

The RRP Rule requires that individuals performing renovations are properly trained and certified, give owners and occupants EPA’s Renovate Right lead hazard information pamphlet before beginning work, and follow specific lead-safe work practices during renovations.

Lead Disclosure Rule Enforcement Actions

Five of the settlements reported in fiscal year 2016 alleged Lead Disclosure Rule violations. This rule continues to be an important tool for reducing lead exposures and increasing awareness of lead risks. The rule generally requires lessors and sellers to disclose to prospective tenants and purchasers specific information about lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards.

Lead-based Paint Activities Rule - Abatement Enforcement Actions

The Lead-based Paint Activities Rule requires that abatement contractors be trained and certified, and follow abatement-specific lead-safe work practices. EPA-authorized states typically implement and enforce the abatement requirements of this rule.

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Learn more about all of EPA’s actions to enforce lead-based paint regulations during fiscal year 2016

More information about lead-based paint regulations and hiring a certified renovation company is available at www.epa.gov/lead or by calling the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD

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