RRP News & Notes


Updates & EPA Enforcement Actions


EPA Enforcement Actions Help Protect Vulnerable Communities from Lead-Based Paint Health Hazards


On November 3, 2016, the EPA announced over 100 federal enforcement actions completed over the last year that require entities like renovation contractors, landlords and property managers to protect communities and public health from exposure to lead. Lead paint is the main way people are exposed to lead in the United States, and lead exposure can cause a range of health problems, from behavioral disorders and learning disabilities to seizures and death, putting young children and their developing nervous systems at the greatest risk.


“Renovation companies and their contractors must protect children and other vulnerable people from leadbased paint exposure, especially in minority and low-income communities where housing with lead-based paint is more common,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “These enforcement actions show that EPA will hold companies accountable when they put public health at risk, and they promote a level playing field for businesses that follow the rules.”


From October 2015 through September 2016, EPA entered into 123 settlements for alleged violations of one or more of the three lead-based paint rule—the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule; the Lead Disclosure Rule; and the Lead-based Paint Activities Rule for abatements—and filed six complaints for ongoing actions. Each settlement requires that the alleged violator return to compliance and, in most cases, pay civil penalties. Collectively, the settlements require violators to pay $1,046,655 in penalties.


The three rules are part of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act and the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act and apply to housing built before 1978 and child-occupied facilities. Ensuring compliance with all three rules enables EPA to identify and address a variety of lead exposure risks that occur in communities across the nation. These risks can occur when lead paint deteriorates or is disrupted during home renovation and remodeling activities. A blood lead test is the only way to determine if a child has a high lead level. Parents who think their child has been in contact with lead dust should contact their child's health care provider.


In September 2016, EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement with Sears Home Improvement Products Inc. that resolves alleged violations of the Lead RRP Rule for work performed by Sears’ contractors during home renovation projects across the country. Under the settlement, Sears will implement a comprehensive, corporate-wide program to ensure that the contractors it hires to perform work minimize lead dust from home renovation activities and pay a $400,000 civil penalty.


In three of the settlements, entities agreed to fund voluntary environmental projects collectively valued at up to $409,429 to address lead risks and poisoning. Every project requires lead-based paint abatement, including post-construction clearance testing to ensure that no hazards remain. The complaints propose penalties of up to $197,743 for alleged violations of the RRP Rule and/or Lead Disclosure Rule.


Of the total settlements reported during fiscal year 2016, 116 cited alleged RRP Rule violations involving repair, renovation or painting projects where lead-based paint is disturbed. Approximately 63 percent of this year’s cases alleged failure to obtain EPA certification and almost half cited non-compliance with requirements to ensure lead-safe work practices. The RRP Rule requires that individuals performing renovations are properly trained and certified, give owners and occupants EPA’s Renovate Right lead hazard information pamphlet before beginning work and follow specific lead-safe work practices during renovations.


Five of the settlements reported in fiscal year 2016 alleged Lead Disclosure Rule violations. This rule continues to be an important tool for reducing lead exposures and increasing awareness of lead risks. The rule generally requires lessors and sellers to disclose to prospective tenants and purchasers specific information about lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards.


The Lead-based Paint Activities Rule requires that abatement contractors be trained and certified, and follow abatement-specific lead-safe work practices. EPA-authorized states typically implement and enforce the abatement requirements of this rule. However, during fiscal year 2016, EPA took action in two cases.


Source: www.epa.gov/lead/newsroom

Ready to become a lead-safe Certified Renovator? CLICK HERE to enroll in a Certified Renovator–Initial RRP Course and receive the training you need to perform lead-safe work practices.




Sears to Improve Public Health Protections from Lead Pollution During Home Renovations


On September 28, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a settlement with Sears Home Improvement Products Inc. that resolves alleged violations of the federal Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule for work performed by Sears’ contractors during home renovation projects across the country. Under the settlement, Sears will implement a comprehensive, corporate-wide program to ensure that the contractors it hires to perform work minimize lead dust from home renovation activities. Sears will also pay a $400,000 civil penalty.


“Today’s settlement will have a widespread impact across the home improvement industry, significantly reducing exposure to lead paint dust among children and other vulnerable people,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “In order to contract with Sears, a worker must follow lead safe practices. Contractors will carry this certification to every job they do. EPA expects all renovation companies to ensure their contractors follow these critical laws that protect public health.”


“This settlement will help prevent children and workers’ exposure to lead during home renovations in communities across the United States by ensuring that Sears’ contractors are fully aware of their obligations under lead safety regulations,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Sears is required to implement system wide changes across the corporation which will provide additional protection for consumers and bring the company into compliance with the law.”


EPA discovered the alleged violations through a review of Sears’ records from projects performed by the company’s renovation contractors at numerous projects in cities across California and in Georgia, Minnesota, Nevada, New York and Wisconsin.


The government also alleged that Sears failed to establish, retain, or provide compliance documentation showing that specific contractors had been certified by EPA, had been properly trained, had used lead-safe work practices, or had performed required post-renovation cleaning.


Under the settlement, Sears will implement a company-wide program to ensure that the contractors it hires to perform work for its customers comply with the RRP Rule during renovations of any child-occupied facilities, such as day-care centers and pre-schools and any housing that was built before 1978. For these projects, Sears must contract with only EPA-certified and state-certified firms and renovators, ensure they maintain certification and ensure they use lead safe work practices checklists during renovations.


Sears will also add a link on its website to EPA’s content on lead-safe work practices and use a company-wide system to actively track the RRP firm and renovator certifications of its contractors. In addition, Sears must suspend any contractor that is not operating in compliance with the RRP Rule, investigate all reports of potential noncompliance and ensure that any violations are corrected and reported to EPA.


EPA reached a similar settlement with home improvement retailer Lowe’s Home Centers in 2014 requiring the company to implement a comprehensive, corporate-wide compliance program at its over 1,700 stores nationwide to ensure that the contractors it hires to perform work minimize lead dust from home renovation activities.


The RRP Rule, which is a part of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act, is intended to ensure that owners and occupants of housing built before 1978, as well as any child-occupied facilities, receive information on lead-based paint hazards before renovations begin, and that individuals performing such renovations are properly trained and certified by EPA and follow specific work practices to reduce the potential for lead-based paint exposure. Home improvement companies such as Sears that contract with renovators to perform renovation work for their customers must ensure that those contractors comply with all of the requirements of the RRP Rule.


Lead-based paint was banned in 1978 but still remains in many homes and apartments across the country. Lead dust hazards can occur when lead paint deteriorates or is disrupted during home renovation and remodeling activities. Lead exposure can cause a range of health problems, from behavioral disorders and learning disabilities to seizures and death, putting young children at the greatest risk because their nervous systems are still developing. A blood lead test is the only way to determine if a child has a high lead level. Parents who think their child has been in contact with lead dust should contact their child's health care provider.


Source: www.epa.gov/lead/newsroom

Ready to become a lead-safe Certified Renovator? CLICK HERE to enroll in a Certified Renovator–Initial RRP Course and receive the training you need to perform lead-safe work practices.




Lead-Based Paint Renovation/Abatement Exterior Containment

This 18-minute tutorial reviews required RRP lead-safe work practices to minimize and contain dust and debris during exterior renovations.




Lead-Based Paint Renovation/Abatement Interior Containment

This 14-minute tutorial reviews required RRP lead-safe work practices to minimize and contain dust and debris during interior renovations.