Lead-Based Paint Still a Problem for Residents of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties
There are numerous homes in the regions of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties in southern California that are quite old, but it’s the ones that are slowly deteriorating that pose a threat to people, particularly children. Paint that is chipping away, peeling or cracking increases the chances of lead exposure. Even worse, lead paint can be found in just about any area of the house – windows, window sills, doors, door frames, stairs, railings, banisters and porches.
Lead-based paint that is deteriorating needs immediate attention, especially if there are children living at home because they are more susceptible to poisoning compared to adults. Homes that are built before 1978 pose a higher level of risk: 87% before 1940, 69% between1940-1959 and 24% between 1960-1977, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
When absorbed in the blood, lead causes damage to the brain and other vital organs like the kidneys. In addition, lead causes behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures and death (for extreme cases). Someone who has lead poisoning will showcase symptoms such as headaches, irritability, nausea, stomachaches and tiredness.
EPA Fines Two Southern California Companies
Just recently, the US EPA fined two companies based in Southern California – Calspec Enterprises, Inc and Waypoint Homes, Inc – for not complying with federal lead-based paint rules on several residential properties.
A general contractor based in Santa Ana, California, Calspec Enterprises, Inc will be required to pay $21,200 under the settlement order for violating the Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule. The EPA found that the company renovated three homes (in Cypress, Newport Beach and Norwalk) without:
- giving residents the federal Renovate Right brochure before commencing renovations
- providing a certified renovator and making sure workers were certified or trained
- keeping records that documented that they put up warning signs, made sure work areas were contained and that a certified renovator came to do post-renovation cleaning verifications
Waypoint Homes Inc. is an Oakland, California-based company that is one of the largest lessors of single-family homes in the US. The EPA, in 2013, found out that the company got into leases of five homes built before 1978 in Riverside and San Bernardino without letting tenants know about lead-based paint or lead hazards. In addition, Waypoint failed to confirm that tenants received the federal Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home brochure. Because of this violation, the company will pay a $25,340 fine.
The Toxic Substances Control Act and RRP + Disclosure Rule
The RRP rule is enforced by the EPA to protect residents and children from being exposed to lead-based paint hazards caused by renovation and repair. On the other hand, the Disclosure rule requires that those who sell or rent houses that were built prior to 1978 should: provide a lead hazard information pamphlet approved by the EPA; add lead notification language into sales and rental forms; divulge lead-based paint hazards and give reports to buyers or renters; agree to lead inspection or risk assessment; and keep records that certify compliance with all applicable federal requirements for three years.
Homeowners in the San Bernardino and Riverside areas are encouraged to have their homes tested for lead paint and learn about the hazards if their homes were built before 1978. In addition, immediate action is required when potential hazards are found.