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Spokane landlord reaches $4,000 settlement with EPA for lead paint violations

Release Date: 05/08/2008
Contact Information: Javier Morales, Lead Program, (206) 553-1255, Tony Brown, Public Affairs, (206) 553-1203,

(Spokane, Wash. – May 8, 2008) William Henson, a Spokane area landlord, has agreed to pay a $4,000 penalty to settle alleged violations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lead-based paint disclosure rules.

The single family home Mr. Henson owned as a rental property is considered by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to be "target housing": a dwelling built prior to the 1978 Consumer Products Safety Commission ban on the manufacture and sale of lead-based paint. The EPA alleged that Mr. Henson, as a building owner and landlord, failed to carry-out required disclosure activities with his tenants and their children.

According to Rick Albright, Director of EPA’s Air, Waste & Toxics Office in Seattle, tenant disclosure requirements protect families where they are often most vulnerable to exposure: at home.

“It’s tragic that children are poisoned everyday from eating lead-based paint,” said EPA’s Albright. “And what’s really sad is that lead poisoning is often easily avoided. Landlords, building owners and property management companies are compelled by law to inform parents about existing lead paint risks and how they can take steps to protect their children.”

Individuals who are concerned that they or their children may have been exposed to lead hazards can determine if they have elevated blood-lead levels through a simple, inexpensive test at their doctor’s office or local health clinic.

The federal lead-based paint and/or lead-based hazards Disclosure Rule requires sellers, owners and lessors (as well as property management firms) of pre-1978 rental housing to provide disclosures and other information to tenants. The Rule helps ensure that tenants can make informed decisions about protecting their children and themselves from lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before they sign a lease.

Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years in a multitude of products found in and around our homes. Lead may cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children six years old and under are most at risk, because their bodies are growing quickly.

The Residential Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act helps prevent exposure -- especially the exposure of children -- to hazards from lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards by requiring disclosure and notification when selling or leasing housing. If you are concerned about possible lead paint exposure or other household lead hazards, or if you are interested in testing for and safely removing lead contaminated materials, you should contact your local or state health departments.

EPA and HUD also have established a “Tips and Complaints” hotline (1-800-424-LEAD) for anyone seeking information about lead-based paint, lead poisoning, or for individuals who wish to report any alleged violations of the disclosure rule.


For more about how you can protect your family from lead paint hazards:

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