For decades, strict laws have governed dangerous waste handling, including lead-based paint and asbestos. EPA guidelines leave no room for speculation regarding contractor disclosure and mitigation of hazardous materials.
Last week, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement with GB Group, a construction and painting contractor based in California's Bay Area, regarding their failure to properly handle toxic substances and notify residents.
The EPA's "Renovate Right" pamphlet outlines relevant guidelines. GB failed to assign a certified renovator to every project. They failed to follow lead-safe handling practices. Finally, they failed to create and maintain records regarding lead-based paintwork.
"Renovating older homes can expose residents and workers to hazardous lead-based paint and dust," EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman said in a statement.
Studies prove that exposure during childhood stunts growth, damages hearing, leads to behavioral and learning problems, and lowers IQ. The federal government has banned lead-based paint since 1978, but it remains present in older homes, often covered by newer paint layers.
The EPA created the "Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule" to protect people from hazards during remodeling and renovations. Those who work at renovation sites require training and certifications that ensure lead-safe work practices.
Failure to adequately disclose and mitigate toxic materials triggered the EPA to file suit against the Bay Area construction company, GB Group.