Senate Postpones Lead Paint Violation Fines

By Todd Fratzel on Painting and Finishing, Safety

New Lead Paint Law Hits Snag

Pealing lead paint on windows.Regular visitors to this site have read quite a bit about the New Lead Paint Law. From the feedback on this site it’s pretty clear that the opposition to the new law is growing quickly and loudly! Both home owners and contractors are extremely upset about the new law and the financial impacts it will have on American’s owning homes built prior to 1978.

It appears that folks are finally starting to fight back against the EPA’s poorly planned new law. Two weeks ago the Senate passed legislation to temporarily block fines resulting from the new lead paint law.

The bill was sponsored by sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, whose major concern is a lack of preparation on the EPA’s behalf. Supporters of the temporary ban cite a lack of certified trainers available to properly train the massive construction industry. Other supporters also point out the intense confusion and mis-understanding that most construction companies have.

Lead Paint Certification has been slowly happening across the Country but many small construction companies have yet to even learn of the new law. The temporary ban on fines will allow more Contractors to come into compliance and avoid possibly devastating fines up to $37,500 per day!

Political Pressure Is Mounting

Over the past few months we’ve received numerous comments from upset home owners and contractors about the cost of the new lead paint law. It seems that almost daily editorials are popping up around the Country pointing out how the reality of the new law is effecting home owners that simply can’t afford to comply with the new law for simple projects like replacing old drafty windows or having their home painted.

If you’re a concerned home owner or contractor then it’s time to contact  your local political representatives. It’s quite obvious that things are starting to move in Washington on this issue and continued pressure is likely to force some changes. As I’ve said before the intent of the new law is solid but the implementation is just disastrous.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. Mary McCrohan/Swanick says:

    I totally disagree with letting these fines go. All Real Estate & Landlords have been notified about the lead abatement, some choose to use unlicensed, illegal contractors to do the work. I believe they should be fined. In New York all landlords are suppose to notify tenants every year about the lead paint, some do others don’t. I can name our landlord who did not notify us & now we are ill from it. We vacated the Apt. before we were all dead. There are several hundred lawsuits pending on children that have lead poisoning, so how could people not know about the lead paint laws.

    • Todd says:

      Mary – Sorry to hear that you’re ill. This new legislation is only about the new Federal EPA lead paint law that went into affect in April. This has nothing to do with state and local laws that pertain to landlords and tenants. This new law only pertains to construction activities that would disturb lead paint. I think you’ve confused this with laws that require landlords to notify tenants if they live in an apartment with lead paint.

    • Contrary says:

      Mary, why do the landlords have to be the only ones with knowledge?
      As you state, “there are hundreds of lawsuits, how could people not know about lead paint laws?”

      Why fine a landlord, because you don’t know better than to eat paint chips.
      Better idea, have everyone sign an EPA lead paint form on or before tax day every year, have it sent with IRS tax forms, this will keep the Government ran post office in business, keep the IRS in more business and give the EPA something to do, making sure everyone has signed the document. Remember, not every child lives in an apartment, or rental, the EPA should be concerned about all houses and children. In reality it is all about fines and money and creating jobs to push paper, a different form of taxation.

  2. christopher rondeau says:

    I work for a renovation/remodeling company. as an employee of the corporation am I personally responsible to pay lead infraction fines or is my employer responsible to pay? we have employees certified recently, but we personally cannot afford to pay any fines I would guess the corporation is ultimately financially responsible

  3. Mario says:

    I’m a small painting contractor. The last few years have been very difficult. In feb of this yr, it looked as if we were going to have a better year than the last 2. since the lead law has passed , I lost a least 3 projects, which would represent about 25% of gross sales. I expected to hire back 2/4 employees, since the new law has gone into effect, no one has been hired back, and It feels like this business will never recover. I would also like to add, potential customers who are not aware of this new law, react to me as if I made the law, and act like it’s my fault they have to pay more for lead containment. It is also incredibly difficult to give an accurate estimate, as there are many grey areas of this law.

    • Todd says:

      Mario – I certainly feel for you and understand where you’re at. Frankly we’re in the same boat and feel as though this new law is certainly putting a major squeeze on the construction industry. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out, hopefully not at the cost of too many contractors.

  4. Joel says:

    Mario – I agree with your point on estimating. Even if you follow the new guidelines to specification, it is still impossible to contain 100% of dust/debris while painting a lead based house. Furthermore, it is riskier as a contractor to estimate a project when there are more variables involved, i.e. plastic, HASMAT suits etc. After the 8 hour training course, I was more confused with many unanswered questions than before the training. At the beginning of the course (a room filled with 40+ contractors) our instructor said, “Don’t raise your hands to ask questions because we will never get through all the material in one day”. And I paid $300+ for this? There needs to be more support by the EPA for both contractors and homeowners. I understand as well as anybody the dangers of this toxic material, but the implementation as been poorly planned.

  5. Dane says:

    We just received a certified letter from the EPA that someone has turned our name in for Lead Base paint violation? We’re a small 3 man remodeling company that frankly in this market is barely scraping by. Now what???

  6. Carl Peterson says:

    What is the current status of this Law ? I agree that it will and IS making it harder to survive in the construction business. How can a small company sustain a $38k fine ? I just received an email yesterday saying College Pro painters just received a $38k fine, but at the end of the email it they were selling a book of records to keep your paperwork in order for the EPA. I don’t know who to believe! I love how during the EPA Lead certification course they give you all these restrictions of how to treat the tent process and were the correct suits and use the Hepa vacuum, and at the end of the process ( which is like dealing with radiation) you bag it an put it at the CURB ! To be pick up as regular trash and taken to the dump ? IS it just me or should the process end there, after we have gone to ALL THE EXTRA EXPENSE to go through this process to just leave it for kids to play in and around or animals to rip open and carry from place to place. Not to mention it just ends up in the dump!! Sometimes it amazes me of the rules and regulations that our government can come up with. My guess is they never had to make a living working with their hands, and I know this because they tie our hands behind our backs and expect us to pay higher taxes.

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