Advanced Window Inc. of Frederick, MD,  is facing $67,180 in penalties from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for lead paint violations that the agency said occurred during window replacement work at the Southern Towers apartments in Alexandria, VA, in 2015.

According to the EPA, the company violated the agency’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule (RRP rule) and the Toxic Substances Control Act because it failed to provide both the owner and adult occupants with an EPA-approved lead hazard pamphlet, failed to post warning signs, and failed to retain records demonstrating compliance with lead-safe work practices.

In addition to the $67,180 penalty, which is one of the largest EPA has handed down for RRP violations in the past 18 months, the terms of the settlement with the agency require Advanced Window Inc. to certify that it is now in compliance with all EPA lead paint regulations.

Despite its ban from use in 1978, EPA estimates that lead-based paint is still present in more than 30 million homes in the U.S. Infants, children, and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure, which can cause lifelong effects such as developmental impairment, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavioral problems.

The RRP rule requires any renovation work — and all door and window replacements — that disturbs more than six square feet of a pre-1978 home’s interior to follow work practices to protect residents from exposure to lead, which is especially dangerous for young children. The work must be supervised by an EPA-certified renovator and performed by an EPA-certified renovation firm.

The rule, which was first enacted in 2008 and was amended in 2010 and 2011, has faced strong opposition from the door and window industry.

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) and other industry groups argue that the extra cost associated with lead-safety procedures prevents many homeowners in older buildings from replacing their windows, which often aren’t energy-efficient. They want EPA  to consider changes to the rule, such as restoring the opt-out provision for homes without a child under the age of six or a pregnant woman. The lack of an accurate test kit for lead paint is also an issue that WDMA wants the EPA to address.

According to the EPA, approved test kits for the RRP rule have a failure rate of between 22.5 percent and 84 percent, and WDMA says false positives have led to millions of dollars in extra costs for homeowners. Additionally, the removal of the opt-out provision more than doubled the number of homes subject to the RRP rule.

In January, a federal appeals court ordered the EPA to revise its lead-paint standards within 90 days and write new rules within a year.

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