EPA Takes Actions to Protect Children from Lead Exposure in Hartford and Fairfield Counties
BOSTON (Oct. 28, 2021) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) New England regional office is working to protect children from harmful exposure to lead by taking action to promote compliance with federal regulations that require lead-safe work practices during residential renovations and lead paint disclosure to tenants and homebuyers in Hartford and Fairfield counties in Conn. These counties have some of the highest rates of childhood lead poisoning in the state, making it an important opportunity to both enforce lead paint regulations and educate renovators, landlords, and homeowners about them.
"During Children's Health Month, it's important that we emphasize that a vital part of protecting children's health is reducing their exposure to lead," said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Szaro. "Due to an older housing stock in Hartford and Fairfield counties, exposure to lead paint continues to be an issue. We all have to do our part to comply with lead regulations by understanding possible lead sources and hiring lead-certified contractors when renovating."
Lead paint was banned in 1978, but it's still common to find lead paint in older buildings. Lead is particularly harmful to children because they are more vulnerable to its effects, which include damage to the brain and nervous system. EPA prioritizes educating 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.
For the last year, EPA New England has focused on reducing the risk of future childhood lead poisoning in Connecticut's Hartford and Fairfield counties by concentrating education, compliance assistance, and enforcement resources in this geographic area. This area has one of the highest rates of childhood lead poisoning in the state of Connecticut. Portions of this area also contain a high percentage of housing built before 1950, as well as households with incomes below the poverty level.
Settlement with a company in Windsor Locks, Conn.
In August of 2021, EPA settled a case with J. Corrigan, LLC due to alleged violations of the RRP Rule during the renovation of a single-family home located in Windsor Locks Conn. The violations included failing to: obtain firm certification for lead work, provide the homeowner with a pre-renovation education pamphlet, ensure compliance with work standards such as containing waste from renovation activities, and comply with record-keeping requirements. J. Corrigan agreed to pay a penalty of $1,253.
Settlement with a company in Avon, Conn.
Last week, EPA settled with Corridor Property Management, LLC (Corridor) based in Avon, Conn., and Coach Lantern Apartments LLC (Coach Lantern), a Portland, Maine landlord of properties managed by Corridor. Under the settlement, the companies agreed to pay a penalty of $38,185 to resolve alleged violations of the RRP and Lead Disclosure rules.
Corridor allegedly performed renovations to townhomes located in an Environmental Justice area in Mansfield, Conn. without obtaining EPA firm certification and failed to ensure that all individuals performing renovations were properly trained and certified in lead-safe work practices. In addition, Corridor and Coach Lantern allegedly failed to provide lead records to tenants before they entered into lease contracts to rent apartments they owned and managed in Scarborough, Maine.
In addition to these settlements, EPA New England also provided extensive compliance assistance this past year. Staff developed and delivered new training assistance through webinars such as "Let's Learn About Lead," aimed at educating children and parents about lead hazards. There were also other webinars focused specifically for entities working in the industry such as federal facilities, renovators, contractors and a first of its kind joint training series with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The assistance and outreach efforts made by EPA reached over 17,000 individuals and regulated entities from October 2020 through September 2021.
Over the past several years, EPA New England has conducted geographically focused outreach and compliance assistance efforts to raise awareness about lead paint hazards among painters and home renovation companies, property managers and landlords, as well as private homeowners.
The geographic initiatives allow EPA to target communities known to have a higher proportion of older houses, as well as areas with higher rates of lead exposure for children. During 2020 and continuing throughout 2021, EPA focused on greater Hartford and portions of Fairfield County in Connecticut. Past efforts have focused on Vermont communities located in Bennington, Rutland and Windham counties; the New Hampshire and southern Maine Seacoast area; Lewiston/Auburn, Maine; Nashua, New Hampshire; and New Haven, Conn. 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 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 as well.
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
Enforcing lead paint rules helps protect children and vulnerable communities across the country. EPA annually compiles and shares these results. The 2021 results are still being compiled, find the 2020 results here: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/epas-lead-based-paint-enforcement-helps-protect-children-and-vulnerable-communities-1
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
National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week: https://www.epa.gov/lead/national-lead-poisoning-prevention-week