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As part of the efforts to promote health and safety during National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 highlighted 12 federal enforcement actions taken during the fiscal year in New York and New Jersey. The EPA aims to address the risk of lead poisoning in housing by ensuring entities such as renovation contractors comply with rules to protect the public, according to agency officials. The EPA announced tighter standards for lead in dust on floors and window sills earlier this year to protect children from the harmful effects of lead exposure.

From October 2018 through September 2019, the EPA's Region 2 office entered into five consent agreements, four expedited settlement agreements, and two judicial orders with entities operating in New York and New Jersey. Neither state delegated the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rule or the Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule, but New Jersey delegated authority to implement and enforce the Lead-based Paint Activities (Abatement) Rule.

One of the largest settlements in Region 2 in the past year was made with Total Change. The company agreed to pay a $20,000 penalty to settle violations of the RRP Rule associated with several renovation projects.

Reducing childhood lead exposure was among the seven enforcement and compliance assurance priority areas outlined by the EPA for the fiscal years 2020-2023. The agency unveiled the Trump Administration's Federal Lead Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts in December 2018. The four stated goals of the action plan are to reduce children's exposure to lead sources, to identify lead-exposed children and improve their health outcomes, to communicate more effectively with stakeholders, and to support and conduct critical research to inform efforts to reduce lead exposures.

The 12 enforcement activities in Region 2 were part of the 117 actions taken nationwide by the EPA in the fiscal year. The 117 enforcement actions in the U.S. between October 2018 and September 2019 represent a significant decline in actions taken from the previous fiscal year.

[Editor's Note: This story appears as it was originally published on our sister site Remodeling.]