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U.S. EPA fines Fine Custom Painting $10,000 for failing to disclose lead-based paint hazards

Release Date: 05/05/2009
Contact Information: Wendy Chavez, 415/947-4248,

Failure to notify residents of potential hazards may cause lead poisoning

(San Francisco, Calif. -- 05/05/09) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined a South San Francisco-based painting contractor $10,000 for failing to inform the owner and tenants of a multi-family residence about lead-based paint hazards before starting exterior paint work at 129-131 Ord St. in San Francisco.

Federal law requires that anyone who performs a renovation for compensation on multi-family housing built before 1978 must provide the owner and occupants with information about lead-based paint hazards before starting the renovation.

Painting contractor, Fine Custom Painting, Inc., had already begun scraping, sanding and stripping paint from the Ord Street residence in July 2005, when the EPA began investigating after a tenant with a small child raised concerns.

“Exposure to lead-based paint dust and debris generated during renovation of older housing can have serious health consequences,” said Enrique Manzanilla, Communities and Ecosystems Division director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Without adequate information about lead hazards before the work begins, tenants and home owners cannot protect themselves and their families from the significant risks that these hazards present.”

Exposure to lead dust and paint chips by inhalation and/or by ingestion can result in high blood pressure, digestive problems, muscle and joint pain, nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems, increased chance of illness during pregnancy, and harm to a fetus, including brain damage or death.

Although anyone can suffer adverse health effects from exposure, lead poses a greater risk to children because their bodies absorb more lead during their developmental years and their brains and nervous system are more sensitive to lead. Exposure to even low levels of lead can severely harm children under the age of six and have long-term consequences such as hyperactivity, learning disabilities, and hearing impairment.

The EPA has a comprehensive lead-based paint program that provides education about lead-based paint hazards, certifies lead-based paint abatement professionals and provides guidance about protective work practice standards. In March 2008, The EPA issued additional regulations to require further protections to address hazards that may be created during renovations. For more information on the new regulations, see the EPA’s Web site at:

For more information on the lead program, please visit our Web site at or the national Web site at