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EPA Proposes Fine of $38,830 for Lead Paint Violations in Biddeford, Maine Apartment

Release Date: 07/15/2003
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1008

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a $38,830 fine against the owner of a building in Biddeford, Maine, who failed to disclose to tenants the required information regarding the presence of lead paint.

According to a complaint filed recently by EPA’s New England office, the owner of the property at 94 Cleaves St. in Biddeford violated the federal Lead Disclosure Rule by knowingly renting an apartment to families with children under age 6, without informing them of the presence of lead paint.

The legal name of the owner of the property is “94 Cleaves Street,” an enterprise in Scarborough, Maine. Priscilla Dunn is president, treasurer, and director of this enterprise.

According to EPA’s complaint, the Maine Department of Human Services conducted a lead investigation at the property in August 1998, after learning of a case of childhood lead poisoning in the second-floor unit. DHS then ordered the owner to remove the lead paint hazards at the property and posted a notice of the existence of environmental lead hazards on the building, in accordance with state lead laws.

In January of 1999, Dunn rented the apartment to a family with a young child and did not fully disclose the presence of lead paint or the existence of the abatement order, according to EPA’s complaint. In June of that year, the Maine Attorney General issued a complaint and in November, the Maine Superior Court ordered Dunn to remove the lead paint hazards in accordance with the state order. Dunn subsequently re-rented the apartment and another unit in the building to families without providing the required lead disclosures. The property did not come into compliance with the state’s abatement order until April 11, 2001.

“The lead disclosure rule is an important part of EPA’s work in creating an environment that is safe for the public, especially our children,” said Robert W. Varney, administrator of EPA’s New England office. “This rule helps prevent exposure to lead-based paint and resulting lead poisoning, which affects as many as 3 million young children in this country.”

Lead poisoning can cause intelligence deficiencies and cause reading and learning disabilities. It can impair hearing and cause reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavior problems.

The allegations are based on records from the Maine DHS, an EPA inspection July 31, 2001, information provided by Priscilla Dunn and her former attorney, and telephone interviews with former tenants.

For more information on lead paint disclosure requirements and other issues regarding lead, visit