Foxboro, Mass. Landlord to Pay Penalty and Take Steps to Reduce Risk of Lead Poisoning
Landlord Daniel J. Lynch will pay a fine and take action to reduce the risk of lead poisoning at an apartment building in Foxboro, Mass. This will settle EPA claims that Mr. Lynch violated lead paint disclosure laws when he rented apartments without providing tenants with lead paint disclosure information.
Under the settlement, Mr. Lynch, who does business as Foxboro Real Estate, will pay a $1,442 fine and will replace 60 old windows presumed to contain lead-based paint at One Main St. in Foxboro, with new, energy efficient windows. The window replacement project will cost more than $37,000.
“Lead poisoning is a serious health threat for children in New England, because so much of our housing is older and may contain lead paint,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA’s New England office. "It is critically important that renters and buyers get the information they need to protect themselves and their children from potential exposure to lead paint.”
The violations were identified during the course of an investigation that EPA began in April 2006, and were included in a complaint filed in March 2008. EPA launched its investigation after being notified that paint removal work at the One Main St. property in Foxboro was spreading paint chips onto abutting properties. EPA claimed that Mr. Lynch did not comply with federal laws that require property owners, managers and sellers to provide information to tenants and buyers about lead-based paint present in housing built before 1978.
Mr. Lynch took prompt action to comply with the federal disclosure requirements after EPA started its investigation and worked cooperatively with EPA to reach a speedy settlement.
The purpose of the Disclosure Rule is to provide residential renters and purchasers of pre-1978 housing with enough information about lead-based paint in general and known lead-based paint hazards in specific housing, so that they can make an informed decision about whether to lease or purchase the housing.
Federal law requires that landlords and sellers renting or selling housing built before 1978 must:
-provide a lead hazard information pamphlet that can help renters and buyers protect themselves from lead poisoning;
-include lead notification language in sales and rental forms;
-disclose any known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in the housing and provide available reports to renters or buyers;
-allow a lead inspection or risk assessment by home buyers;
-and maintain records certifying compliance with federal laws for a period of three years.
Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure which can cause intelligence quotient deficiencies, reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavior problems. Pregnant women are also vulnerable because lead exposure before or during pregnancy can alter fetal development and cause miscarriages. Adults with high lead levels can suffer high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle and joint pain. Childhood lead exposure is a particularly acute problem for urban children of low-income families who live in older housing.
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