The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement valued at $55,000 with Destination Maui, Inc. for failing to notify its tenants about the potential presence of lead-based paint at eight properties located on Maui.
“More than half a million children in America have blood lead levels that can lead to learning disabilities and behavior problems,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Household paint is the main source of exposure, so it’s crucial for landlords to provide tenants the information they need to protect their families from lead poisoning.”
In addition to a fine of $5,500, Destination Maui will spend approximately $49,500 to fund the testing of 350 children for lead exposure and provide blood lead analysis equipment to three community health clinics operated by Malama I Ke Ola Health Center on Maui that serve low income and homeless residents. The blood testing program will take place over the next three years, and will target uninsured children under the age of 6 years old.
An EPA inspection found that the firm did not provide information about the potential presence of lead based paint before leasing eight properties in Kahului, Kihei, Wailuku, Lahaina, Makawao, Kula, and Haiku. These actions violated the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.
The inspection was one of several conducted at property management firms in May 2011 throughout Maui that rent older housing that may have a risk of lead hazards. EPA places a high priority on addressing environmental health risks like lead poisoning that disproportionately affect children and environmental justice communities. Even low levels of lead in the blood of children can result in behavior and learning problems, lower IQ and hyperactivity, and other harmful health effects. Because such effects may not be immediately apparent in young children, testing is recommended to identify lead poisoning and take action to prevent further harm.
The federal government banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978. Federal law requires that persons and entities that sell or rent housing built before 1978, such as the units managed by Destination Maui involved in this case, provide lead hazard information to buyers or tenants. In addition, contractors who work on such housing or child-occupied facilities must be certified by EPA if they perform significant renovation, repair, or painting.
For additional information on lead in paint and the Toxic Substances Control Act requirements, please visit the EPA website at http://www2.epa.gov/lead