A Sedalia, Mo., home remodeling company has agreed to pay a $9,548 civil penalty to settle allegations that it violated the federal Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule of the Environmental Protection Agency. EPA Region 7 conducted a Record Keeping Inspection of M&L Construction, a firm specializing in fire and water restoration, in August 2012 as a result of information received through a tip and complaint.
According to an administrative consent agreement and final order filed by EPA Region 7 in Lenexa, Kan., the inspection revealed that M&L failed to become a certified firm, failed to hand out the Renovate Right pamphlet to a homeowner, failed to retain records documenting lead safe work practices, and failed to assign a certified renovator to projects.
M&L Construction was legally required to use proper lead-safe work practices during renovations and provide owners and occupants of the properties with an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet known as the Renovate Right pamphlet before starting renovations at the properties.
The Renovate Right pamphlet helps homeowners and tenants understand the risks of lead-based paint, and how best to minimize these risks to protect themselves and their families M&L Construction did not provide this pamphlet, assign a certified renovator to a renovation and maintain lead safe work practice records.
The RRP rule requires that contractors that work on pre-1978 dwellings and child-occupied facilities are trained and certified to use lead-safe work practices. This ensures that common renovation and repair activities like sanding, cutting and replacing windows minimize the creation and dispersion of dangerous lead dust. EPA finalized the RRP rule in 2008 and the rule took effect on April 22, 2010.
Emergency renovations are those performed in response to situations necessitating immediate action to address safety or public health hazards or threats of significant damage to equipment or property.
Many renovators are unfamiliar with the limitations to emergency renovation situations.
The need for immediate action relieves firms from some, but not all, lead safe work requirements. Once the emergency renovation is over, the typical Renovation, Repair and Painting rules apply.
This enforcement action addresses RRP Rule violations that could result in harm to human health, states the EPA. Lead exposure can cause a range of adverse health effects, from behavioral disorders and learning disabilities to seizures and death, putting young children at the greatest risk because their nervous systems are still developing.
Today at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead. There are approximately half a million U.S. children ages 1-5 with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), the reference level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated.