A 14-month USA TODAY investigation found that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state regulators left thousands of families and children in harm’s way, doing little to assess the danger around many of the more than 400 potential lead smelter locations. The possible locations were compiled by a researcher from old industry directories and were given to the EPA in 2001. The investigation alleges widespread government failures when officials failed to look for these smelters, failed to test the soil in the smelters’ nearby neighborhoods, and failed to alert neighbors and order clean-ups when high levels of lead were found in the soil. Read more about this investigation here.
Category Archives: EPA
Two companies face a possible fine of $153,070 for violating lead paint disclosure laws at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine and the Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asserts in its complaint that Northeast Housing, LLC and Balfour Beatty Military Housing Management, LLC failed on multiple occasions over several years to notify prospective tenants, including families with young children, about potential lead paint hazards in housing. Notifying prospective tenants and purchasers of housing units helps parents protect young children from exposure to lead-based paint hazards. Read more about this story here.
A new study says nearly two-thirds of New Orleans homes and yards have “dangerous” levels of lead, according to federal standards, a finding the authors believe may be linked to the extensive renovation and demolition of homes after Hurricane Katrina. Read more about this story here.
Last week Joplin, Missouri, city officials requested approximately $7.5 million in federal aid to remedy lead contamination that the devastating May 22 tornado stirred up. Not only did the deadly twister rip apart structures that contained lead, but it also disrupted soil under homes constructed on abandoned lead mines, according to a letter sent by city officials to the Environmental Protection Agency. Read more about this story here.
The EPA found that a Fresno County firm that owns and manages properties failed to provide information to tenants about prior lead hazards before leasing certain units. Additionally, J.D. Home Rentals did not have tenants sign forms showing that they received disclosures about lead. These failures resulted in violations of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. The 12 properties with violations serve predominantly low income communities, and more than half of the violations were at units occupied by children under the age of six years. Under the settlement, the firm is required to pay a $7,500 penalty and must spend $67,500 on window replacement at its properties. Read more about this article here.
High lead levels were found in drinking water in seven of 38 Chicago homes tested by federal regulators this spring, according to results obtained by the Tribune. Regulators and scientist worry testing methods used for two decades could be significantly underestimating consumers’ exposure to the toxic metal. Read more about this story here.
Alaskan pollock may be part of the solution to one of the nation’s longest-running toxic waste problems. Today, there is more lead contamination in America’s cities than any federal or state agency could ever afford to clean up and haul away. So scientists and regulators in Oakland, California are trying a new strategy, using fish bone meal to transform the dangerous metal that resides in the soil into a form the human body cannot absorb, thus vastly reducing the risk of lead poisoning. As the fish bones degrade, the phosphates migrate into the soil. The lead in the soil, deposited by car exhaust from the decades when gasoline contained lead or from lead-based paint residue, binds with the phosphate and transforms into pyromorphite, a crystalline mineral that will not harm anyone if consumed. Read more about this principle here.
The Environmental Protection Agency said it is seeking penalties of up to $16,000 per violation against a property management company and three owners of rental properties in and around Holyoke, Massachusetts for failing to comply with federal lead-based paint disclosure rules at properties in the area. According to EPA’s complaint, the property management company and the three property owners are charged with 27 counts of violating lead-based paint disclosure requirements when they rented 11 housing units at 10 properties. Specifically, the complaint alleges that they failed to give tenants required lead-hazard information pamphlets, failed to including lead-warning statements in leases, failed to include disclosure statements regarding lead-based paint of lead-based paint hazards, and failed to provide records or reports pertaining to lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards. Read more about the complaint here.