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EPA cites Chicago landlords for lead-based paint violations; $107,030 penalty proposed

Release Date: 10/19/2005
Contact Information:

CONTACT: Kären Thompson, (312) 353-8547

For Immediate Release
No. 05-OPA218

CHICAGO (Oct. 19, 2005) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has filed a 90-count complaint against Veselko Leko, Vinko Leko and V & V Management, Chicago, for allegedly failing to warn tenants of four rental apartment buildings that their homes may contain lead-based paint hazards. A $107,030 penalty has been proposed.

Both Lekos and V & V Management do business at 4859 N. Harding Ave. and owned or managed residential rental buildings containing about 134 apartments at 1767-1775 W. Granville/6165 N. Ravenswood, 4936-4938 N. Harding, 4845-4859 N. Harding/3915-3925 W. Ainslie and 6364-6382 N. Hermitage/1737-1749 W. Devon.

The Federal Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rule requires that landlords and sellers of housing constructed prior to 1978 provide each purchaser or tenant with a lead hazard information pamphlet, any information and reports concerning lead-based paint in the property, and a lead warning statement to be signed by the parties.

Lead exposure causes reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, reduced height, poor hearing and a host of other health problems in young children. Many of these effects are thought to be irreversible.

At higher levels, lead can damage a child's kidneys and central nervous system and cause anemia, coma, convulsions and even death. More than 5,000 Chicago children under the age of six were diagnosed with lead poisoning in 2004.

Deteriorated lead paint is the most common source of lead exposure to children in the United States. About 75 per cent of the nation's housing built before 1978 contains lead-based paint. When properly managed, lead-based paint poses little risk. If not maintained, even low levels of lead exposure can threaten the health of housing occupants, especially children and pregnant women.

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