WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency announced penalties against 17 companies for violating the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule (LRRP).
Designed to protect homeowners and tenants from lead dust exposure, the LRRP rule requires that contractors and subcontractors be properly trained and certified, and adhere to work practices to ensure that lead dust is minimized. Experts say lead exposure can cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities to seizures and death, with young children at the greatest risk because their nervous systems are still developing.
According to a statement from EPA, the violations include "14 actions in which the contractor failed to obtain certification prior to performing or offering to perform renovation activities on pre-1978 homes, where lead is more likely to be present. Other alleged violations included failure to follow the lead-safe work practices, which are critical to reducing exposure to lead-based paint hazards."
The enforcement actions include administrative settlements with penalties up to $23,000, and the requirement that contractors certify their compliance. EPA also filed three administrative complaints seeking fines up to 37,500 per violation, the maximum allowed.
The companies facing penalties are: Groeller Painting, Inc. of St. Louis, MO; Albracht Permasiding and Window, Co. of Omaha, NE; Midwest College Painters, LLC of Bloomfield Hills, MI; ARK Property Investments, LLC of Richmond, IN; Henderson & Associates Services of Largo, FL; Home Resources Management, LLC of Columbia, TN; Camaj Interiors & Exteriors of Jacksonville, FL; Cherokee Home Improvements, LLC of Church Creek, MD; Window World of Harford located in Belair, MD; EA Construction and General Contracting of West Chester, PA; Roman Builders of Morton, PA; Accolade Construction Group, Inc. of New York, NY; PZ Painting of Springfield, NJ; Creative Renovations of Brooklyn, NY; Reeson Construction of Webster, NH; New Hampshire Plate Glass Corporation of Portsmouth, NH; and CM Rogers Handyman of Manchester, NH.
“Using lead-safe work practices is good business and it’s the law,” Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said in a statement. “EPA is taking action to enforce lead rules to protect people from exposure to lead and to ensure a level playing field for contractors that follow the rules.”
The enforcement actions, announced May 2, comes almost two months after Congress announced its intention to reform the rule, with the reintroduction of the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2013 in the Senate.
Introduced March 6 by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and six co-sponsors, S.484 would: “Restore the ‘opt-out provision’ which would allow homeowners without small children or pregnant women residing in them to decide whether to require LRRP; suspend the LRRP for homes without small children or pregnant women residing in them, if EPA cannot approve one or more commercially available test kits that meet the regulation's requirements; prohibit EPA from expanding the LRRP to commercial and public buildings until EPA conducts a study demonstrating the need for such an action; provide a de minimus exemption for first-time paperwork violations and provides for an exemption for renovations after a natural disaster; and eliminate the requirement that recertification training be ‘hands on,’ preventing remodelers having to travel to training facilities out of their region."
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