TV Show Contractor Settles Lead Paint Violations

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2024


Earlier this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reached a settlement agreement with a Bella Vista, Arkansas, contractor following lead-based paint violations on an HGTV renovation show.

“It’s important that the public understand that any renovation, repair or painting project in a pre-1978 home can easily create dangerous lead dust or expose children to dangerous, sometimes deadly, paint chips,” said David M. Uhlmann, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

“Home renovation TV programs in particular have an obligation to show the public how to renovate old homes safely and lawfully, not in a manner that is dangerous, misleading, and puts the wellbeing of children at risk.”

Cable television program “Fixer to Fabulous” follows Dave and Jenny Marrs as they transform historic houses in “desperate” need of an update to turn them into “charming forever homes.”

About the Settlement

According to the agency, in 2018, Marrs Construction Co. performed two renovations at residential properties constructed prior to 1978 without complying with applicable Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule requirements.

Specifically, Marrs allegedly failed to:

  • Obtain recertification before beginning renovations;
  • Assign a certified renovator to each renovation;
  • Maintain records showing their compliance with RRP measures; and
  • Perform work in accordance with the work practice standards

Since being contacted by the EPA, Marrs reportedly obtained RRP firm certification, certified its complyiance with the RRP Rule, and pledged to comply in all future renovation activities.

The contractor also agreed to help raise awareness about the EPA Lead RRP program under the settlement by including educational information about compliance with the Lead RRP Rules in future episodes of “Fixer to Fabulous,” one episode in their upcoming season five and two episodes in season six.

Additionally, the company has agreed to produce and post on their social media sites a 30-second video public service announcement that focuses on EPA lead safety measures. The company will also make it available to EPA for future use.

Marrs is also required to pay a $35,000 civil penalty, the EPA notes.

Other TV Lead Settlements

The agency adds that this is one of multiple cases that it has settled involving improper lead-based paint renovation practices demonstrated on home renovation television shows on the HGTV/Discovery network.

In addition to “Fixer to Fabulous,” the EPA has settled with programs including “Maine Cabin Masters,” “Two Chicks and a Hammer,” “Magnolia Homes,” “Texas Flip N Move,” and “Rehab Addict and Bargain Mansions.”

The EPA highlighted several of these actions back in November 2022, as well as future planned investigations.

According to the agency at the time, the actions taken are meant to ensure that renovation contractors, landlords and realtors comply with rules that protect the public from exposure to lead from lead paint. The cases are also noted to highlight the range of the agency’s work, including:

  • Criminal prosecution in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ);
  • A focus on geographic areas that suffer from disproportionate levels of lead exposure; and
  • Bringing civil administrative actions against renovators with a far-reaching influence on the compliance landscape locally, regionally or nationwide.

In support of the EPA’s Lead Strategy, the EPA was also focused on compliance with lead-based paint regulations in family housing, including on military installations. The EPA sent several information request letters and subpoenas to housing companies to assess compliance with the regulations, and will take appropriate enforcement action as needed.

   

Tagged categories: Civil Penalty; Contractors; Enforcement; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); EPA; Health & Safety; Health and safety; HGTV; Lead; Lead; Lead Disclosure Rule; Lead paint abatement; Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (LRRP); Lead rule; Maintenance + Renovation; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Regulations; Renovation; Violations

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