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EPA Cites Housing Renovator for Failing to Provide Lead Paint Hazard Information to Norfolk, Va. Homeowner

Release Date: 9/6/2005
Contact Information: Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

PHILADELPHIA – In the first such case in the nation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has cited Virginia-based housing contractor Millennium Quests, Inc. (doing business as “American Dream Consultants”), Norfolk, Va., for violating a federal law requiring home renovation companies to inform homeowners and residents about lead-based paint hazards.

EPA’s complaint alleges that Millennium renovated a home in Norfolk, Va., in September-October 2003 without providing the homeowner with required information about lead-based paint hazards. EPA’s complaint proposes a penalty of up to $27,500 for Millennium’s alleged violation of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act.

Donald S. Welsh, EPA’s regional administrator for the mid-Atlantic region, said that EPA has brought hundreds of enforcement actions under this law against landlords and homesellers who failed to provide required information about lead-based paint hazards to prospective homebuyers and tenants.

“However, this is the first case enforcing the law’s “pre-renovation rule,” which requires housing contractors renovating residential housing built before 1978 - when the federal government banned the sale of lead-based house paint- to provide information to the property owners and residents about lead-based paint hazards,” Welsh said.

Under the law, companies that renovate pre-1978 homes must provide homeowners and adult occupants with a copy of EPA’s lead information pamphlet “Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home.” This pamphlet provides important information about lead-based paint hazards, and precautions to avoid exposure to lead-contaminated paint dust and debris that may be generated by the renovation.

According to EPA, Millennium failed to provide this information to owners of a residential property located on 41st Street in Norfolk, Va., which was the home of a family with two young children. Responding to a complaint from the homeowner, the City of Norfolk’s Department of Health conducted a post-renovation inspection in November 2003, which documented lead-contaminated dust and paint chips throughout the house.

In April 2005, the company pleaded guilty in state court to a criminal charge related to its failure to comply with a December 2003 Norfolk Health Department order to clean up lead and asbestos at this property. Also in April 2005, the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation fined the company $8,000 and revoked its Class A Virginia contractor license. According to EPA’s complaint, the company’s criminal failure to perform the ordered cleanup has required the homeowner to pay another contractor $34,725 to perform the cleanup, and to dispose of thousands of dollars of contaminated personal possessions.

The company has the right to a hearing to contest the alleged violations and proposed penalty.

EPA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are cooperating in a nationwide effort to protect tenants and homeowners from the health risks of lead-based paint. High blood levels of lead can cause permanent damage to the nervous system and widespread health problems, such as a reduced intelligence and attention span, hearing loss, stunted growth, reading and learning problems and behavioral difficulties. Young children, in particular, are most vulnerable because their nervous systems are still developing.

For more information on lead in paint, dust and soil, and the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, please visit