US EPA - Environmental Protection Agency

Massachusetts contractor to pay nearly US$64K for lead paint violations

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A Medford, Mass. residential renovation and construction contractor will pay a cash penalty of $63,832 for violating the federal lead paint disclosure law that applies to renovations of residential housing.

An EPA inspection found that M.F. Reynolds Inc. of Medford violated the federal Pre-Renovation Rule that requires contractors to provide lead hazard information to 121 owners of pre-1978 residential property 60 days prior to the start of renovations. The requirement for contractors to notify residential customers about lead hazards prior to renovation work is recent. This case is the first pursued by EPA within New England, and is one of the first cases nationally.

Since having these violations brought to their attention, M.F. Reynolds has been cooperative with EPA in their efforts to resolve these concerns.

Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips by disturbing lead-based paint, which can be harmful to adults and children. Contractors and renovators are required to provide an EPA pamphlet to residential customers 60 days prior to renovation work. The pamphlet provides information on the risks associated with lead-based paint and how to take measures to protect one’s family from those risks during renovations or construction.

“Exposure to lead paint continues to be a problem in New England, because so much of our housing stock was built earlier than 1978,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “By helping families to understand the risk of lead in older homes, we can help parents protect their children from lifelong harm.”

Lead can affect children’s brains and developing nervous systems, causing reduced IQ, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems. Federal law requires both landlords and property sellers, as well as contractors and renovators of housing built before 1978, to provide a lead hazard information pamphlet to inform renters and buyers about the dangers associated with lead paint.

To further protect against lead risks, earlier this year EPA issued new measures for contractors and renovators to follow “lead-safe” practices to prevent lead poisoning. Under the rule, beginning in April 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.

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