Effort Begins to Reduce Children’s Exposure to Lead Paint in Nashua, N.H. Area

Reposted from EPA:
http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/6E4B377B0D92A39F85257E3400621CFA

Effort Begins to Reduce Children’s Exposure to Lead Paint in Nashua, N.H. Area

Release Date: 04/27/2015
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

BOSTON – In an effort to improve compliance with laws that protect children from lead paint poisoning, EPA sent letters earlier this month to over 300 home renovation and painting contractors, property management companies and landlords in and around Nashua, N.H. announcing a compliance assistance and enforcement initiative. The EPA letter outlines steps EPA is taking to increase compliance on the part of these entities with the federal lead-based paint Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

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 repainting projects in residences, schools and other buildings where children are likely to be. The Rule requires individual renovators and firms performing renovations to be trained and certified so that they follow lead safe work practices during renovations of pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities in order to protect children from lead poisoning.

Infants and children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure, which can cause lifelong impacts including developmental impairment, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavioral problems. Because New England has so much older housing stock, lead paint is still frequently present in buildings that were built before 1978, when lead paint was banned. Nashua has been identified as a high risk community for lead poisoning because of the high percentage of housing units built before 1978 (69%), the proportion of the population under age 6 and the number of children living in poverty.

EPA has, and will continue to offer compliance assistance on the RRP Rule to companies and the public in the Nashua area. Beginning in May, EPA lead inspectors will inspect numerous renovation, painting and property management companies in the Nashua area to assess compliance with the RRP Rule. EPA may also assess compliance with the Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rule (Disclosure Rule), which requires landlords, property management companies, real estate agencies, and sellers to inform potential lessees and purchasers of the presence of lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in pre-1978 housing. This rule ensures that potential tenants and home buyers are receiving the information necessary to protect themselves and their families from lead-based paint hazards prior to being obligated to purchase or rent pre-1978 housing. The inspections may be followed up with enforcement.

Besides increasing protection for children’s health, EPA aims to ensure a “level playing field” for individuals and companies that are already complying with the RRP Rule. EPA is coordinating with many state and local agencies, including several City of Nashua departments, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, and the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority.

EPA engaged in a similar effort in the New Haven, Conn. area last year. As a result of that effort, EPA has initiated four enforcement actions against home renovators with proposed penalties as high as $67,000. Since the beginning of that effort, approximately 73 firms in the New Haven area have become certified under the RRP rule. EPA’s RRP Rule became effective in April 2010.

EPA continues to prioritize resources at both the national and regional level to educate companies and inform the public about these lead paint rules. Enforcing lead paint notification and worksite standards helps ensure a level playing field for all companies complying with the law, as well as helping to ensure a safer and healthier environment for children.