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Rhode Island Landlord to Pay Penalty and Take Steps to Reduce Risk of Lead Poisoning

Release Date: 04/18/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. - April 18, 2006) – Providence, R.I. landlords Peter and Lillian Marinucci will pay a fine and take action to reduce the risk of lead poisoning in apartment units in Providence. This settles EPA claims that the Marinuccis violated lead paint disclosure laws at rental properties they own and manage.

Under the settlement, the Marinuccis will pay a $6,207 fine, replace 124 old windows and 62 old doors presumed to contain lead-based paint in a number of Providence, R.I. properties. The window and door replacement and other lead abatement projects will cost approximately $60,000.

"Lead poisoning is a serious health threat for children in New England, because so much of our housing is older and may contain lead paint," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England office. "It is critically important that renters and buyers get the information they need to protect themselves and their children from potential exposure to lead paint. This is especially important for pregnant women and families with young children."

The violations were identified during the course of an investigation that EPA began in June 2005, and were included in a complaint filed in January 2006. EPA claimed that the Marinuccis did not comply with federal laws that require property owners, managers and sellers to provide information about lead-based paint present in housing built before 1978.

Once the Marinuccis learned of the lead disclosure laws during EPA’s investigation, they took prompt action to comply with the lead disclosure law and worked cooperatively with EPA to reach a speedy settlement.

The purpose of the Disclosure Rule is to provide residential renters and purchasers of pre-1978 housing with enough information about lead-based paint in general and known lead-based paint hazards in specific housing, so that they can make an informed decision about whether to lease or purchase the housing.

Federal law requires that landlords and sellers renting or selling housing built before 1978 must:

- provide a lead hazard information pamphlet that can help renters and buyers protect themselves from lead poisoning;
- include lead notification language in sales and rental forms;
- disclose any known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in the living unit and provide available reports to renters or buyers;
- allow a lead inspection or risk assessment by home buyers;
- and maintain records certifying compliance with federal laws for a period of three years.

Under the terms of the EPA settlement, the Marinuccis agreed to replace 124 old windows and 62 old doors in a number of apartments and install new siding on the exterior of one apartment building in Providence, R.I. The buildings were all constructed before 1950. Old windows and doors are major culprits in residential lead poisonings because the action of opening and closing windows and doors can abrade lead-based paint, creating lead-containing dust. Lead-based paint present on the exterior of houses and buildings is a source of lead contamination in soils.

Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure which can cause intelligence quotient deficiencies, reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavior problems. Pregnant women are also vulnerable because lead exposure before or during pregnancy can alter fetal development and cause miscarriages. Adults with high lead levels can suffer high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle and joint pain. Childhood lead exposure is a particularly acute problem for urban children of low-income families who live in older housing.

For more information on lead hazard issues in New England, see: .

For additional information on the lead-based paint disclosure rule, see: .

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