EPA settles with West Chester home improvement company for alleged lead paint violations for $17.5K

By Nicholas Malfitano | Dec 3, 2018

Environmental Protection Agency  

PHILADELPHIA – A West Chester-based home improvement company has been ordered to pay a $17,500 penalty in order to resolve alleged violations of the lead-based paint Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The RRP Rule, enacted as Pennsylvania law in 2008, is a protective mandate which intended to protect the public from lead-based paint hazards connected to renovation, repair and painting activities. These activities can create hazardous lead dust when surfaces with lead paint, even from many decades ago, are disturbed. Lead-based paint was banned by the federal government in 1978.

It requires workers to be certified and trained in the use of lead-safe work practices, and requires renovation, repair, and painting firms to be EPA-certified, and the requirements went into full effect on April 22, 2010.

Under the RRP rule, firms performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and kindergartens built before 1978 must be EPA- or state-certified, and must use “certified renovators who follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.”

This includes in-house maintenance staff and many types of outside contractors. In order to become certified renovators, individuals must take training from an EPA-accredited training provider. For firms to be certified, they must submit an application and fee to the EPA online.

The EPA alleged during multiple residential renovations in West Chester in February 2017, Chapman Windows and Doors (trading under its parent company name of “Air Tight Home Improvements”) violated the RRP “lead-safe” requirements by:

* Failing to document whether target housing owners had received a mandatory lead hazard information pamphlet titled “Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers and Schools” in a timely manner;

* Failing to retain possession of records regarding document compliance with lead-practices during renovation; and

* Failing to make sure renovators conducting the work were certified by the EPA to conduct lead-safe renovations.

Chapman Windows and Doors did not admit to the alleged violations, but as part of the settlement, has “cooperated with the EPA in resolving this matter and certifying its compliance with applicable RRP requirements.”

“Infants, children, and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to lead exposure, which can cause lifelong impacts including developmental impairment, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity, and behavioral problems. Because of these health risks, the U.S. banned lead-based paint in 1978,” according to the EPA’s release on the matter.

However, the EPA estimates that lead-based paint is still present in more than 30 million homes nationwide.

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nick.malfitano@therecordinc.com

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