Paint made with lead is no longer used in new homes but the EPA has rules to prevent chips or dust from lead paint from spreading when older homes are being renovated. The Centers for Disease Control says that it is not safe to have any exposure to lead and that children exposed to lead can face health and developmental problems.
The EPA reviewed video footage of several seasons of “Fixer Upper” and found that in 33 homes renovated on the show it “did not depict the lead-safe work practices normally required,” according to the EPA’s website.
The complaint said that Chip and Joanna Gaines did not follow all the regulations to minimize risks from exposure to lead paint such as covering floors and vents with plastic to capture paint chips, providing information on risks from lead exposure to homeowners and using contractors certified by the EPA to handle renovations involving lead paint. The EPA said that Magnolia responded immediately to solve the problem.
“It’s important that consumers and contractors understand that improper home renovation can expose residents and workers to hazardous lead dust,” Susan Bodine, assistant administrator in EPA’s enforcement and compliance office said in a statement. “Through this settlement, Magnolia is putting in place safeguards to ensure the safety of its renovation work and making meaningful contributions toward the protection of children and vulnerable communities from exposure to lead-based paint.”
As part of the settlement, Chip Gaines was shown one of the episodes of the current season explaining precautions renovators should take when dealing with lead paint. The company will also spend $160,000 to remedy hazards from lead-based paints in homes around Waco, Texas where residents are at high risk from exposure to lead-based paint and will pay a $40,000 civil penalty.
A spokesman for Magnolia Homes said that the company acted immediately when the EPA filed its complaint and has recently implemented a compliance program for staff and contractors.
“We continue to be proactive with our efforts to ensure total compliance moving forward, and remain committed to raising awareness in our community and our industry,” spokesman John Marsicano said in a statement.
The show “Fixer Upper” on HGTV is currently airing its fifth and final season.
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