Home Depot Inc. will pay a fine of $ 20.8 million for failing to ensure its contractors follow the lead paint rules. The civil sanction announced Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency is the heaviest of these sanctions to date under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
Under the proposed regulation, The Home Depot must implement a program to ensure that the businesses and contractors it hires to perform home renovations are certified to use lead-free work practices.
The Atlanta-based company announced in 2017 that it was under investigation by the EPA’s Criminal Investigations Division for compliance with lead-free work practices. Home Depot then said it was cooperating with the EPA.
The EPA said that while investigating customer complaints about Home Depot renovations, it found the company had contracted out work to companies that did not use lead-free work practices. It also failed to perform the required post-renovation cleaning, issue EPA lead-based pain brochures to occupants, or keep records of compliance with the law, has declared the agency.
Residential lead-based paint was banned in 1978, but it is still present in many older homes. Exposure to lead dust and paint chips can cause health problems, including behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures and even death.
The United States is joined by three states. Of the $ 20.75 million penalty, Utah will receive $ 750,000, Massachusetts $ 732,000 and Rhode Island $ 50,000.
The proposed settlement, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.