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New Hampshire Landlords to Pay Penalty and Take Steps to Reduce Risk of Lead Poisoning

Release Date: 09/19/2006
Contact Information: Sheryl Rosner, (617) 918-186

(Boston, Mass. – Sept. 19, 2006) Manchester, NH landlords, William and Johanna Morin, will pay a fine and take action to reduce the risk of lead poisoning at apartment buildings in Manchester, NH. The settlement announced today resolves EPA claims that the Morins violated lead paint disclosure laws at rental properties located in Manchester, NH.

Under the settlement, the Morins will pay a $4,035 fine and will abate lead-based paint hazards on exterior, multi-level decks at five Manchester, NH, apartment buildings. The lead abatement projects will cost approximately $40,000.

"Lead poisoning is a serious health threat for children in New England, because so much of our housing is older and may contain lead paint," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England office. "It is critically important that renters and buyers get the information they need to protect themselves and their children from potential exposure to lead paint. This is especially important for pregnant women and families with young children."

The violations were identified during the course of an investigation that EPA began in August 2005, and were included in a complaint filed in March 2006. EPA claimed that the Morins did not comply with federal laws that require property owners, managers and sellers to provide information about lead-based paint present in housing built before 1978.

Once the Morins learned of the requirements of the lead disclosure laws during EPA’s investigation, they took prompt action to comply and worked cooperatively with EPA to reach a speedy settlement.

The purpose of the Disclosure Rule is to provide residential renters and purchasers of pre-1978 housing with enough information about lead-based paint in general and known lead-based paint hazards in specific housing, so that they can make an informed decision about whether to lease or purchase the housing.

Federal law requires that landlords and sellers renting or selling housing built before 1978 to:

- provide a lead hazard information pamphlet that can help renters and buyers protect themselves from lead poisoning;
- include lead notification language in sales and rental forms;
- disclose any known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in the housing and provide available reports to renters or buyers;
- allow a lead inspection or risk assessment by home buyers;
- and maintain records certifying compliance with federal laws for a period of three years.

Under the terms of the EPA settlement, the Morins agreed to enclose exterior, multi-level decks presumed to be finished with lead-based paint at five properties in Manchester, NH. The buildings were all constructed before 1920. Lead-based paint on porches can present a hazard to children, particularly if a porch is used as play area. Lead-based paint on porches, if tracked into an apartment or hallway, can create interior lead hazards and also contribute to lead contamination in soils.

Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure which can cause intelligence quotient deficiencies, reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavior problems. Pregnant women are also vulnerable because lead exposure before or during pregnancy can alter fetal development and cause miscarriages. Adults with high lead levels can suffer high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle and joint pain. Childhood lead exposure is a particularly acute problem for urban children of low-income families who live in older housing.

For more information on lead hazard issues in New England, see: .

For additional information on the lead-based paint disclosure rule, see: .

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