Thursday, May 1, 2014

Lowe's To Begin Compliance Program for RRP

Lowe's Home Centers is one of the largest home improvement retailers. Recently, they reported they implement a compliance program that would require contractors working with lead dust to be certified. This program will be enforced in over 1,700 retail stores. After, facing a settlement from violating the EPA RRP Rule, Lowe's will also have to face a $500,000 civil penalty--the largest violation ever recorded for the RRP Rule.

EPA inspectors found that the contractors Lowe's was hiring were not compliant with the RRP Rule's record keeping and work practice standards in residential homes. These rules exist to protect homeowners and children who are especially vulnerable to the hazards associated with lead exposure. Lead paint poisoning can cause detrimental health effects, including lower IQ, disabilities, and sociopathic behavior.

The investigation, prompted by public complaints, found that the contractors hired by Lowe's did provide documentation of their RRP certification, did not use lead-safe practices during the renovation projects, and did not correctly use EPA-approved lead test kits. Additionally, the contractors did not contain or clean the work areas in three of the homes.

Cynthia Giles of the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance commented on the high settlement: “Today’s settlement sends a clear message to all contractors and the firms they hire: Get lead certified and comply with the law to protect children from exposure to dangerous lead dust. Lowe's is taking responsibility for the actions of the firms it hires, and EPA expects other contractors to do the same.” The compliance program will require contractors to be certified with the EPA before they perform renovation projects. The EPA hopes that the program will bring attention to the RRP Rule and the threat lead paint poses to children in the community.

According to the EPA, violations were found after reviewing records performed by Lead Renovators contracted by Lowe's stores. These violations were found in the following locations: Alton, Ill.; Kent and Trotwood, Ohio; Bedford, N.H.; Southington, Conn.; South Burlington, Vt.; Rochester, N.Y.; Savannah and Lebanon, Tenn.; Boise, Idaho Falls, and Nampa, Idaho; and Muldoon, Ark.

The new compliance program will ensure that the contractors Lowe's hires are certified with the EPA and that they use lead safe work practices checklists. If contractors are working in child-occupied facilities, such as schools or residential homes built before 1978, they must comply with Lowe's new program and the RRP Rule. Otherwise, Lowe's must suspend anyone who is not compliant and investigate any reports of noncompliance.

Stay compliant by earning your Lead Renovators Certification. Or, if you have already been certified, stay up to date by taking a Lead Renovators Refresher course. GreenEDU offers these courses nationwide in both English and Spanish!