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EPA Action Brings Better Lead-Based Paint Information to Tenants of 1,800 Apartments

Release Date: 02/23/2004
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(#04010) New York, N. Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached a settlement for $4,290 with Kriegman & Smith, Inc. (K&S) Exit EPA disclaimerof Roseland, New Jersey. The original complaint alleged that K&S had not consistently provided warning statements, statements disclosing any knowledge of lead-based paint, lists of any existing records or reports pertaining to lead-based paint and an EPA approved lead-hazard pamphlet to tenants at 10 Landing Lane, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. After EPA's initial inspection, K&S redisclosed lead-based paint information to all 143 units at the New Brunswick property and also reviewed its disclosure practices at approximately 1,800 apartments in 40 properties throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

"Children are hit hardest with lead poisoning and we need to act now to protect their health," said Jane M. Kenny, EPA Regional Administrator. "Although the health threats associated with lead are extremely serious, they can be easily avoided. If landlords, real estate managers, brokers and agents provide the required information on lead-based paint, parents can take action to reduce the risks it may pose to their children."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lead poisoning is a top environmental health hazard for young children. Based on survey data collected in 1999 and 2000, CDC now estimates that 300,000 children between ages 1 and 5 have unsafe levels of lead in their blood, causing IQ deficiencies, impaired hearing, hyperactivity and other developmental disabilities.

As part of EPA's ongoing effort to ensure that all landlords, real estate managers, brokers and agents are providing the required lead-based paint information to renters or buyers, the EPA recently cited four additional companies for not providing warning statements, statements disclosing any knowledge of lead-based paint, lists of any existing records or reports pertaining to lead-based paint and EPA approved lead-hazard pamphlets. EPA filed complaints against Fairview Gardens, LLC., Treetop Associates and Brentwood Towers Apartments, 99 Alpine Way Associates and Sycamore Associates.

EPA cited Fairview Gardens LLC., which is a lessor of property in Kingston, New York for failure to conduct appropriate disclosure. The company faces a $29,700 penalty for the violations. Treetop Associates and Brentwood Towers Apartments, in Vineland, New Jersey, face $22,880 in penalties for not providing lead warning statements during real estate transactions. The EPA cited 99 Alpine Way Associates in Dewitt, New York, for not providing Lead-Based Paint Disclosure to residents. The company faces $13,750 in penalties for its violations. Sycamore Associates, LLC., which owns property in New Windsor, New York, failed to provide lead warning statements or pamphlets. EPA is proposing $10,560 in penalties for the violations.

In 1992, Congress passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act commonly known as "Title X." EPA inspects various real estate businesses to determine whether owners, landlords or their agents who handle residential property built before 1978 are disclosing information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in their property. In addition, Title X requires that the EPA pamphlet "Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home," be distributed to every buyer or renter, and that every contract contains a lead warning statement that specifically states the rights of the renter and the owner, landlord or agent's responsibilities.

Statistics show that over eighty percent of homes built prior to 1978 contain lead-based paint. Children living in these older homes are likely to become exposed to poisoning through ingestion of paint that's chipping or peeling, or of microscopic lead-based paint dust that's generated as windows and doors rub against their frames. Health risks from lead poisoning are extremely serious in young children, and pregnant women, who can transfer poisoning to the unborn fetus.