BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached a settlement with IDK Ventures (which operates as CertaPro Painters of Maine), of Westbrook, Maine, for alleged violations of the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule during painting jobs performed by its subcontractors at multiple locations in Maine. The RRP rule is designed to protect children from lead in old paint.
“Protecting children’s health by reducing lead exposure is a major priority for EPA under the Biden Administration,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “Ensuring that renovation projects of homes and facilities where children can be exposed to lead are conducted safely is imperative. Lead poisoning can cause lifelong health, learning and behavior problems. Employing safe work practices during renovation projects can help prevent lead poisoning. This is even more important considering that many historically overburdened communities both in parts of Maine and throughout New England suffer from higher rates of childhood lead poisoning.”
As part of its investigation into several complaints received from homeowners, EPA requested documents from CertaPro Painters of Maine regarding painting jobs they were hired to perform during 2021 and 2022 in Maine. EPA determined that among other alleged lead-based paint violations, CertaPro Painters of Maine failed to:
- ensure that all individuals performing renovation activities on behalf of the firm were either certified renovators or had been trained by a certified renovator;
- assign a certified renovator to each renovation performed by the firm;
- provide the owner of the unit with the EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet;
- ensure that, before beginning the renovation, the ground was covered with plastic sheeting or other disposable impermeable material extending 10 feet beyond the perimeter of surfaces undergoing renovation; and
- ensure that the all ducts in the work area were covered with taped-down plastic sheeting or other impermeable material.
There were children between the ages of six and 17 confirmed to be residing in at least two of the properties that are the subject of this case. Under the terms of the settlement, CertaPro Painters of Maine paid a fine of $16,636 and has certified compliance with the RRP Rule.
Contractors working on residential properties and facilities that house children are required to follow safe work practices outlined in the Toxic Substances Control Act’s lead-based paint Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule to ensure that children are not exposed to lead dust and debris. Due to the prevalence of older residences and buildings in Maine and throughout New England, it is important to ensure that lead-based paint found in these properties is safely addressed during renovation activities to reduce the risk of childhood lead poisoning.
EPA’s RRP Rule is designed to prevent children’s exposure to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards resulting from renovation, repair and painting projects in pre-1978 residences, schools and other buildings where children are present. If painted surfaces are to be disturbed at a job site, the RRP Rule requires individual renovators to complete an initial 8-hour accredited training course and the company or firm that they work for to be certified by EPA or an authorized state. These baseline requirements are critical to ensuring that companies take responsibility for their employees following proper lead-safe work practices by containing and managing lead dust and chips created during such projects. Further, the RRP Rule requires that specific records be created and maintained to document compliance with the law.
While EPA’s RRP Rule is enforced federally in Maine, EPA coordinated with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Lead Program in investigating this case.
Enforcing lead-based paint certification and worksite standards helps to level the playing field for companies who are doing the right thing by complying with the law, as well as helping to provide a safer and healthier environment for all residents as well as the workers themselves.
As a result of the past and continuing efforts to reduce lead exposure, EPA has educated thousands of individuals either engaged in this type of work or impacted by it, settled numerous formal and informal enforcement actions, and levied fines against the most serious violators. An important outcome of the compliance assistance provided is that many renovators have stepped forward to become newly certified and have sent their workers to be trained.
Infants and children 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. Lead exposures to pregnant woman can impact their unborn children’s health as well.
Federal lead paint information:
Report a lead paint violation.
Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Lead Program
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Author: Region 01