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2 Hawaii real estate companies fined for failing to disclose lead paint

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that two Hawaii real estate companies have agreed to more than $26,000 in penalties for failing to provide proper lead-based paint disclosures, as required by federal law, to buyers and renters of Maui and Big Island homes built before 1978.

Century 21 Homefinders of Hawaii in Hilo, and Coldwell Banker Island Properties of Kahului, Maui, agreed to pay, collectively, more than $26,000 in penalties for violating the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.

Coldwell Banker Island Properties paid a $19,344 penalty in an earlier settlement. Century 21 Homefinders of Hawaii agreed to pay a $6,962 penalty to settle alleged disclosure violations.

“Reducing childhood lead exposure and addressing associated health impacts is a top priority for EPA,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker in a news release. “These settlements protect Hawaii communities by ensuring that lead paint rules and regulations are followed.”

The companies were cited under TSCA’s lead-based paint Disclosure Rule, which applies to housing built before the residential use of lead-based paint was banned in 1978.

The rule requires sellers and lessors of pre-1978 homes to provide prospective homebuyers and tenants with a federal brochure about lead-based paint, any information known about lead-based paint in the home, and a warning statement about the potential dangers of lead-based paint.

With this knowledge, the EPA said, potential homebuyers and tenants can then make informed decisions about whether to buy or rent a specific home.

Both real estate companies are currently in compliance with the lead-based paint disclosure requirement, the EPA said.

High levels of lead in blood can cause permanent damage to the nervous system and widespread health problems, according to the EPA, including reduced intelligence and attention span, hearing loss, stunted growth, reading and learning problems, and behavioral difficulties.

Young children with developing nervous systems are most vulnerable. Adults with high blood levels of lead can also suffer from difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems, and muscle and joint pain.

Reports of lead-based paint violations can be submitted online to this EPA link. More information on compliance is available from the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-5323

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