Previously we looked at lead abatement certification and the definitions of various lead abatement activities. Today, we will examine the fines and fees associated with lead-based hazards.

Generally, fines and fees go into a general fund which is used as community leaders see fit. Some organizations such as the Alliance for Healthy Homes advocate the use of general funds to pay for inspections and enforcement. This suggestion is modeled on a policy currently in use in California. In San Francisco, the fines levied against landlords and property managers who fail to follow standard practices for lead abatement are used to fund the inspection process.

Of course the best practice for professional contractors and property management officials is to follow local and national codes regarding the removal of lead-based hazards from commercial and residential buildings. In 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) handed down a $112,000 fine against a Maine-based lead abatement company for violating regulations. Read the full story here.

Fines and criminal charges have also been levied against lead abatement and asbestos removal companies for fraudulently claiming hazardous material certification. In 2006, the presidents of ACS Environmental and Air Power Enterprises were fined a combined 2.5 million dollars for purchasing phony lead abatement and asbestos handling certificates for their employees. Read the full story here.

For painting and coating contractors and other related professionals, the lesson is clear: Get certified and follow the regulations. Doing so is good for business and will protect the health of your customers and the community.

Tomorrow: Does my building have a lead problem?