The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has settled with Anaheim, Calif.-based home improvement company Powerstar Home Energy Solutions for what it says was the company's failure to comply with its Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule. In a settlement announced on Dec. 13, the company will have to pay a civil penalty of $11,429 and has also agreed to spend about $34,000 to purchase equipment to test blood lead levels in children. In 2014, an EPA investigation found that the company had violated several of EPA's RRP rules by renovating five homes built before 1978 without following proper protocol and practices to reduce lead exposure. Federal regulation requires that contractors doing work on a home pre-1978 that they must be trained and certified in lead safety practices.

Contractors working on pre-1978 homes with lead-based paint must also provide educational materials to residents.

The EPA says that Powerstar Home Energy Solutions failed to:

  • Become certified by EPA to perform residential work;
  • Distribute the “Renovate Right” brochure to educate occupants about lead-safe work practices;
  • Keep complete records documenting whether the work followed lead-safe practices.

Activities such as sanding, cutting, demolition, and more can lead to lead-paint dust exposure and chips. While banned in 1978, the EPA estimates that 37 million older homes in U.S. still have lead-based paint. Lead exposure can cause detrimental harm to children if they are exposed. While harmful at any age, children are more prone to exposure because their bodies more easily absorb lead, causing damage to their brain and nervous systems. These effects often go unnoticed for years, with no obvious symptoms.

To read the full press release from the EPA, click here.