September 09, 2019

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was sharply criticized Monday by an internal audit designed to measure its progress on protecting the public from lead-based paint in homes, finding the agency lacks an effective strategy on the issue.

The report chided the EPA’s implementation of its Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule, which is a key element of the agency’s effort to reduce childhood lead poisoning, according to the report by the agency’s internal watchdog.

Lead paint was used in about 38 million homes before the practice was banned in 1978. The regulation at issue was released in 2008 and involves enforcement by the government, as well as a requirement that construction companies be certified with the EPA if they could potentially disturb lead-based paint during home repairs.

Ted Leopold of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC’s toxic tort practice group said he wasn’t surprised at the results of the audit and that the report is a “perfect example” of what he says is the current administration's lack of addressing environmental issues.

“I think it’s really an issue the administration has not paid a lot of focus to,” Leopold said.

Among other cases, Leopold helps represent the residents of Flint, Michigan, in their ongoing crisis from lead contamination in their water supply.

“If we just look at all the tremendous amount of deregulations in the environmental field by the EPA since this administration has taken over, I think that speaks volumes about their lack of concern to provide an environment that protects everybody,” Leopold said.

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