EPA Highlights 12 Actions to Protect Children from Lead Paint in New England During Past Year
BOSTON – During Fiscal Year 2020, which ended on Sept. 30, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) New England regional office continued to aggressively take action to promote compliance with lead-safe work practices, and lead paint disclosure to tenants and homebuyers, to protect children from harmful exposure to lead that continues to be found in paint in older housing and buildings.
"During Children's Health Month, it is especially appropriate that we emphasize that protecting children by reducing lead exposure is vitally important and is a high priority for EPA," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel. "Throughout New England there are many older residences and properties where lead paint may still be found. Chipped lead paint and lead dust created during renovations is a significant health hazard for children."
Lead paint was banned in 1978. However, because New England has so many older buildings and houses, lead paint can still be found in buildings constructed before 1978. EPA New England continues to prioritize resources to educate companies and individuals about federal lead paint rules designed to protect children and the public at large from exposure to lead. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act contain several provisions related to lead paint. The federal Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule regulates lead paint renovation work done by hired individuals or companies working in pre-1978 residential or other child-occupied buildings.
The Federal Disclosure Rule requires sellers and landlords to inform buyers and tenants about the hazards of lead-based paint before the buyers and tenants become obligated under a contract to purchase or rent housing built prior to 1978. Buyers and tenants must receive an EPA-approved information pamphlet that informs them about the risks of lead-based paint and how to identify and control lead-based paint hazards. They also must receive disclosure of any known information about the presence of lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards in the home or building.
The companies listed below have been subject to EPA enforcement to ensure their compliance with the federal lead RRP Rule or Disclosure Rules during the year-long period ending in October 2020. Assessed penalties averaged several thousand dollars, were as high as $26,000, and totaled nearly $70,000
Excel Pro Painters, Inc., South Portland, Maine
Dave Johnson Building and Remodeling, Inc., Windham, Maine
Mitchell Professional Services, Greenland, N.H.
Terravecchia Building & Restoration, Inc. for work in Portsmouth, N.H.
Modern Coastal Builders, LLC, of Newburyport, Mass. for work in Exeter, N.H.
Stephen Seckendorf of Hampstead, N.H.
ACM Group, Inc., for work in Portsmouth, N.H.
David Bean, a residential property owner and manager for leasing properties in Keene and Hinsdale, N.H.
Hale Resources, LLC., Bennington, Vermont
E.P. Management, Corp., of Beverly, Mass. for work in Rutland, Vermont
Howard Gross, a residential property owner and manager for failing to disclose known lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards when leasing property in Somersworth, N.H.
LandMarx Construction LLC dba Oceanside Exteriors, Portland, Maine
Over the past several years, EPA New England has employed geographically targeted outreach and compliance assistance efforts to raise awareness about lead paint hazards among painters/home renovation companies, property managers and landlords, and private homeowners.
The geographic initiatives allow EPA to target communities known to include a higher proportion of older houses, as well as higher documented rates of lead exposure for children. Recent efforts have focused on Vermont communities located in Bennington, Rutland and Windham counties; the New Hampshire and southern Maine Seacoast area; and Lewiston/Auburn Maine. During 2020 and continuing throughout 2021, EPA is focusing on greater Hartford and portions of Fairfield County in Connecticut. The geographic initiatives are designed to increase compliance with the federal lead-based paint RRP Rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act. EPA's RRP Rule became effective in April 2010.
EPA's RRP Rule is designed to prevent children's exposure to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards resulting from renovation, repair and painting projects in pre-1978 residences, schools and other buildings where children are present. If lead painted surfaces are to be disturbed at a job site, the RRP Rule requires individual renovators to complete an initial 8-hour accredited training course and the company or firm that they work for to be certified by EPA. These baseline requirements are critical to ensuring that companies take responsibility for their employees following proper lead-safe work practices by containing and managing lead dust and chips created during such projects. Further, the RRP Rule requires that specific records be created and maintained in order to document compliance with the law.
Infants and children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure, which can cause lifelong impacts including developmental impairment, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavioral problems. Lead exposures to pregnant woman can impact their unborn children's health too. Because New England has a lot of older housing stock, lead paint is still frequently present in buildings that were built before 1978, when lead paint was banned.
Although lead paint has been identified as the primary source of childhood lead poisoning, there are other potential sources of lead, including drinking water, soil, air, and consumer products. EPA has information to help protect your family from exposures to lead: https://www.epa.gov/lead/protect-your-family-exposures-lead
EPA has designated the reduction of childhood lead exposures as a high priority. The actions announced today support the agency's continuing commitment to implement the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts (Action Plan) issued by the Trump Administration in December 2018.
To learn more about EPA's progress implementing the Action Plan and stories of on-the-ground work being conducted nationwide, visit: https://www.epa.gov/leadactionplanimplementation.
Federal lead paint information:
- Lead paint RRP Rule https://www.epa.gov/lead/renovation-repair-and-painting-program
- Lead paint Disclosure Rule https://www.epa.gov/lead/real-estate-disclosure
- Report a Lead paint violation https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/reporting-violation-lead-paint-rules-new-england