News Releases from Region 09
U.S. EPA settles with Anaheim real estate firm for failure to disclose risks from lead-based paint
Company to provide community health clinics with blood lead testing equipment
SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement with Carrington, a real estate services firm, for failing to properly disclose the potential presence of lead when selling six residential properties in Kern County.
The company will pay a penalty of nearly $20,000 and spend about $60,000 to purchase equipment to test blood lead levels in children. At least 21 blood lead analyzers will be donated to non-profit community health clinics in Kern, San Bernardino, or Orange counties. The analyzers measure lead in blood samples and give results in as little as three minutes, allowing immediate follow-up by health care providers and parents.
“Lead-based paint is one of the most common causes of lead poisoning in children," said Kathleen Johnson, Director of the Enforcement Division in EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “Early detection is critical, because the risks of long-lasting health problems increase with the levels of lead.”
Carrington, headquartered in Anaheim, has real estate and mortgage service offices across the country. An EPA inspection found that between 2010 and 2012, Carrington failed to provide, or to document having provided, home buyers in Bakersfield and Ridgecrest with:
• Information about the presence of lead-based paint in the home.
• A 10-day period in which to conduct a lead-based paint inspection or risk assessment.
• A sales contract that included a lead warning statement, a lead disclosure along with reports pertaining to lead-based paint, and confirmation that the seller had complied with all lead notification requirements.
• The EPA-approved brochure, Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home, which provides information on identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards.
These actions violated the federal Toxic Substances Control Act and the Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rule. The rule requires landlords, property managers, real estate agents and others who sell or rent houses built before 1978, to provide lead hazard information, including the federal brochure, to buyers or tenants. Lead-based paint was banned for residential use in 1978, but EPA estimates that it is still present in more than 37 million older homes in the United States.
Though harmful at any age, lead exposure is most dangerous to children. Children’s growing bodies absorb more lead, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to its damaging effects. Babies and young children can also be more highly exposed to lead because they often put their hands and other objects that can have lead from dust or soil on them into their mouths. The effects of lead exposure can include behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, and diminished IQ.
Because lead poisoning often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized. Parents or caregivers who think their child has been in contact with lead should notify their child's health care provider. He or she can help decide whether a blood test is needed and can recommend treatment if necessary.
Learn more about lead poisoning and how it can be prevented: http://www.epa.gov/lead
Learn about the Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rule: http://www.epa.gov/lead/lead-residential-lead-based-paint-disclosure-program-section-1018-title-x
Notify EPA about violations of the Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rule in California: https://www.epa.gov/region-9-documents/forms/pacific-southwest-real-estate-lead-disclosure-rule-tips-complaints
Watch “In the Moment with Kathleen Johnson”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89vicPZpSyM
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