WASHINGTON (Oct. 30, 2023) – Today, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a snapshot of enforcement actions taken across the country in 2023 to protect children and their families from the health hazards posed by exposure to lead-based paint. EPA enforcement actions help ensure that renovation contractors, landlords, property management companies and realtors comply with rules that protect the public from exposure to lead from lead paint.
“No family should have to suffer adverse health impacts from exposure to lead because a property manager, landlord, or renovator failed to follow lead-safe work practices,” said Assistant Administrator David M. Uhlmann, for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA is committed to vigorous and fair enforcement of lead paint regulations and will hold companies and individuals accountable for unsafe conditions that put children at risk.”
The federal government banned residential use of lead paint in 1978, but old lead paint remains in over 34 million older homes, including 3.3 million homes with children under the age of six, who are more vulnerable to the health impacts from lead paint. Children can be exposed to lead from lead paint dust on the floor or windowsills, chipped or peeling paint, or old layers of lead paint disturbed by renovation work. EPA rules require renovation firms to protect their customers by using certified renovators and lead-safe work practices. They also require renovators, landlords and others to tell tenants and buyers about known lead paint in a home.
The enforcement actions EPA took in 2023 reflect the agency’s continuing commitment to implementing the Federal Lead Strategy and result in reducing or eliminating lead exposures, particularly to children in communities disproportionately impacted by historic lead paint exposure.
The U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Indiana worked with EPA criminal enforcement personnel and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to secure a 16-month prison sentence for Jeffrey Delucio for falsifying compliance records and failing to use lead-safe work practices in multiple properties, including where a child had elevated levels of lead in their blood.
EPA’s Region 5 and the Department of Justice settled alleged violations of lead paint renovation rules with this major Chicago-based firm. In addition to paying a $400,000 penalty and instituting a robust compliance system to protect customers, Logan Square is paying for $2 million of lead paint abatement work in lower-income properties located in Chicago and Chicago suburban communities with a high incidence of childhood lead poisoning.
EPA’s Region 10 took this Anchorage, Alaska firm to an administrative hearing over its repeated violation of lead paint renovation rules, including work practice rules. The administrative law judge issued a decision sustaining EPA’s allegations and penalizing violator, Greenbuild, for $25,609.
In a proposed consent decree lodged for public comment, NYC general contracting firm, Apex Building Company, Inc., agreed to pay the United States $606,706 and to implement significant injunctive relief to resolve an action brought in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) for lead paint violations involving renovations of 935 apartments in New York, many occupied by low-income tenants. In addition to ensuring future compliance, the company is required to conduct tenant and worker safety information sessions to mitigate potential harms it caused. The initial penalty assessed by the EPA was reduced, as required by statute, based on the defendant’s documented inability to pay the full penalty.
• Privatized Military Housing Investigations.
EPA issued four national subpoenas to property management companies managing privatized military housing to assess compliance with the lead paint regulations and will take appropriate enforcement action as needed to ensure that our servicemembers and their families are protected from exposure to lead paint.
On October 23 and October 30, Magnolia Network will kick off Season 11 of its popular Maine Cabin Masters series with two episodes that include information about compliance with the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule. On April 11, the podcast “From the Woodshed” featured an EPA inspector talking about the importance of compliance with RRP. This innovative outreach stems from an enforcement action EPA Region 1 settled in September 2022. The October episodes of Maine Cabin Masters air at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central.
Regional Geographic Initiatives
As part of EPA’s Strategy to Reduce Lead Disparities and Exposure in U.S. Communities, EPA Regional offices promoted Geographic Initiatives to focus on specific areas or communities with more than one source of lead exposure. In 2023, each Region directed enforcement resources to communities with environmental justice concerns. Regions relied on a combination of strategies to reduce people’s exposure to lead in homes, such as compliance outreach to renovators and apartment owners; lead awareness outreach to communities and tenants; compliance inspections and follow-up enforcement actions to ensure changes in behavior and penalties for non-compliance.
Environmental Justice Toolkit for Lead Paint Enforcement
In 2023, EPA also release an Environmental Justice Toolkit for Lead Paint Enforcement, which provides strategies, examples, and practices for federal, state, Tribal and local government enforcement practitioners to use during all stages of environmental enforcement and compliance monitoring activities designed to eliminate harmful exposures to lead paint in housing in overburdened communities.
To learn more about EPA’s lead enforcement work and for more examples of EPA lead enforcement actions in 2023, please visit EPA’s webpage on Enforcing Lead Laws and Regulations.
If you suspect a violation of the EPA’s lead paint rules, you can submit tips and complaints on the EPA’s Report a Violation website.
For further information: EPA Press Office (firstname.lastname@example.org)