Lead Paint, False Statements, and Forgery

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A Long Island contractor was arrested last week, charged with violating the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (“TSCA”), making false statements, and aggravated identity theft. He was the first person charged with a felony violation of TSCA since the statute was amended in 2016 to include enhanced punishments for certain conduct posing a risk of death or serious bodily injury.

The allegations state that when this contractor was hired to mitigate a lead paint problem in a house where a two-year-old child was previously diagnosed with lead poisoning, that he embarked on the lead abatement while uncertified to do so and did not use a HEPA filter as required, putting the family at further risk. Federal regulations require that lead-based paint abatement work be performed and supervised by individuals who have been certified by the EPA.

The charges continue that the contractor responded to the EPA’s inquiry by showing them a fake contractor agreement along with forged documents that named another individual as having supervised the abatement work.

“Defendant knowingly violated the requirements of safely removing lead from a home and in so doing endangered the health of a vulnerable family,” stated the EPA Special Agent-in-Charge. “The EPA remains focused on holding accountable companies and individuals that cut corners and fail to put public health and safety first.”

If found guilty, under the TSCA the contactor could received a maximum 15-year sentence for conviction of a violation that places one or more individuals at risk of death or serious bodily injury.

Any contractor embarking on a lead abatement project, or a project where lead paint may be present, is urged to learn and abide by the rules and regulations to avoid the severe consequences for non-compliance.


Source: Justice.gov

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Comments

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customtouch@ymail.com
In the state of Colorado it’s not called lead abatement. No painter can do lead abatement. Let abatement is done by specified companies certified to do the abatement which is to remove all the lead. Painters are certified by the EPA to do what is called lead renovation. That is a process in which we remove as much lead that is loose from the house using the proper filtered equipment and coverings and PPE. We then encapsulate the remaining lead with the correct primers and paints . It is a far different process. I feel this article is slightly misleading. If the contractor posed as a lead abatement company that is a far different and much more serious crime than someone who is a lead Restorator that Mrs. a few steps in the process. That involves severe fines and penalties but to my knowledge does not include jail time unless there is a clear intentional disregard for the health and safety of others.

Email: 
customtouch@ymail.com
In the state of Colorado it’s not called lead abatement. No painter can do lead abatement. Let abatement is done by specified companies certified to do the abatement which is to remove all the lead. Painters are certified by the EPA to do what is called lead renovation. That is a process in which we remove as much lead that is loose from the house using the proper filtered equipment and coverings and PPE. We then encapsulate the remaining lead with the correct primers and paints . It is a far different process. I feel this article is slightly misleading. If the contractor posed as a lead abatement company that is a far different and much more serious crime than someone who is a lead Restorator that Mrs. a few steps in the process. That involves severe fines and penalties but to my knowledge does not include jail time unless there is a clear intentional disregard for the health and safety of others.

OK, here's what really happens on projects like this. The painter gets hired to repaint the place, and as part of the job he is ordered to remove the old (lead-based) paint. The homeowner had a few contractors provide bids, and this one was chosen because their bid was much lower. Lead abatement requires significantly complicating your environment controls, and it's pretty costly. So when you price out the work like this you will always get somebody who's willing to take the risk and low-ball to get the contract. Naturally, with labor costs there is not going to be room to actually organize proper abatement. Anyway, a homeowner, knowing that it's the contractor's responsibility to do everything right, most times will hire the low-bidder, because it's half-price, and if anything goes wrong will claim to have been "misled". Other legitimate, certified contractors lose contracts like this all the time. The law is flawed, because it targets not the decision maker, but the hired hand. I think the law should place responsibility on BOTH the homeowner and the contractor. The homeowner should be held responsible if they do not obtain and verify proof of certification, and the contractor--for everything else. This will help prevent low-bidders from getting contracts in the first place. There also should be stricter rules on who can "supervise" or sign-off on abatement measures. Constant presence of the responsible supervisor must be not only required, but more severely punished if violated.

I agree with the Anonymous comment above mine. He's absolutely right and accountability needs to be held on both ends of the deal. <a href="https://goo.gl/maps/PunF3wN2XCXtzagv5 "></a>

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