Friday, September 13, 2013

Man Sentenced to 14 Months in Jail After Lying About Lead-Based Paint Certification

Lead certification enforcementPortland, OR- This past July, Vancouver, Washington resident Martin Glaves Kuna, age 66, was sentenced to 14 months in prison after he plead guilty to one count of wire fraud. Kuna deceived his customers by stating he was certified to perform lead-based paint inspections and testings. He worked in homes where children resided despite the fact that he did not have the proper certifications from the state. Kuna advertised his services from 2008 to 2012, stating he was qualified to perform lead-based paint inspections. He performed over 10 inspections during this time.

In 1992, the Environmental Protection Agency passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act in an attempt to protect children who resided in homes with lead-based paint. Children, when exposed, can experience a variety of negative side effects, including loss in IQ, poor memory, and seizures. Studies have shown that children and adults exposed to lead are more likely to become involved with crime and murder.

Without the proper training, inspectors may endanger the lives of the residents in the homes they are inspecting. Kuna inspected a home where children were present and informed the owner that there were no lead dangers where hazardous lead was indeed present. Children in several of the homes Kuna inspected experienced an increased in their blood lead levels.

In 2012, EPA investigators told Kuna he must stop his work since he lacked the required training and certification. Kuna, however, ignored the EPA and continued to falsely advertise his skills.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon told Kuna in his trial, "The bottom line is, the actions you engaged in put children at risk. Our society just cannot allow that."

In Washington, to become a Certified Lead Inspector individuals must attend a 24-hour approved training course, and register with the Washington State Department of Health for $25. A third party exam must be passed to secure a Lead Inspector license. The Inspector must also work for a Certified Firm,  which requires that every three years the company must register with the state as well for $25. Certified Firms must meet the current minimum requirements of the department of labor and industries regarding a surety bond and insurance, or have a liability, errors and omissions, insurance policy in the minimum amount of five hundred thousand dollars.

Want to become certified to work with lead-based paint? GreenEDU offers initial and refresher courses so that you can earn and maintain your certification! Register for a course in your area!