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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA protects Bay Area residents from hazardous lead paint

Contact Information: 
Michele Huitric (huitric.michele@epa.gov)

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced 12 enforcement actions taken over the past year against renovation firms that failed to comply with federal lead-based paint rules. The settlements, totaling more than $80,000, involved renovation projects at schools and homes throughout the Bay Area.

Eleven violations involved firms seeking construction work at San Francisco Unified School District elementary schools without obtaining EPA certification to perform renovations involving lead-based paint. The settlements, totaling $42,000, were filed between March and October 2016. The school district now requires companies to be EPA-certified to bid on any similar future school projects.

“Lead paint is one of the most common sources of lead poisoning in children,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA's Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “With its new policy, San Francisco Unified sets a strong example of how a school district can protect students from lead dust resulting from renovation.”

EPA required the firms to become properly certified and pay the following penalties:

  • Zolman Construction and Development, Inc. - $9,000
  • Transworld Construction, Inc. - $8,000
  • Rodan Builders, Inc. - $7,000
  • Arntz Builders, Inc. - $5,000
  • Jeff Luchetti Construction, Inc. - $3,000
  • Roebbelen Contracting, Inc. - $3,000
  • Pinguelo Construction, Inc. - $2,000
  • Rainbow Waterproofing and Restoration Co. - $2,000
  • Vila Construction Co. - $1,000
  • S.J. Amoroso Construction Co., Inc. - $1,000
  • Seven Island Painting, Inc. - $1,000

This month, EPA also reached a $38,990 settlement with Best Value Home Improvements, an Oakland-based general contractor. An EPA inspection found that, in working on four residential properties in Alameda, Millbrae, Oakland, and Piedmont between 2013 and 2014, the contractor failed to:

  • Become certified by EPA to perform residential work.
  • Keep complete records documenting whether the work followed lead-safe practices.
  • Provide clients with the required federal Renovate Right brochure, which gives facts about lead safety during renovation work.

Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips. When companies fail to follow lead-safe practices, the resulting lead dust and chips can contaminate surrounding surfaces. Exposure to such contamination through hand-to-mouth contact or breathing can result in lead poisoning for children, families and construction workers.

Though harmful at any age, lead exposure is most dangerous to children. Children’s growing bodies absorb more lead, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to its damaging effects. Lead exposure can cause behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems and diminished IQ.

The Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule was created to protect the public from lead-based paint hazards that occur during repair or remodeling activities in homes and child-occupied facilities, such as schools, that were built before 1978. The rule requires that individuals performing renovations are properly trained and certified, provide lead hazard information, and follow specific lead-safe work practices during renovations.

Contractors that are certified under the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule are encouraged to display EPA's "Lead-Safe" logo on worker's uniforms, signs, and websites. Consumers can protect themselves by looking for the logo before hiring a home contractor, and by being aware of whether a renovator is following lead-safe work practices when working on their property.

Learn about lead-based paint requirements and hazards: http://www.epa.gov/lead

Find a certified contractor in your area: http://cfpub.epa.gov/flpp/searchrrp_firm.htm

Notify EPA about lead-based paint rule violations in California: https://www.epa.gov/region-9-documents/pacific-southwest-lead-based-paint-tips-complaints