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The stars of HGTV’s popular home improvement show “Fixer Upper,” Chip and Joanna Gaines, have settled with the Environmental Protection Agency over alleged violations of lead paint removal at more than 30 properties the couple worked on.
The Gaines and their remodeling company, Magnolia Homes, based in Waco, Texas, agreed to pay a $40,000 fine after EPA officials saw violations of the Renovation, Remodeling and Painting Rule (RRP Rule) on the show.
The RRP was enacted to insure homeowners and remodelers are not exposed to dangerous levels of lead from lead-based paint often used in homes built before 1978, when the paint was banned. The regulation requires contractors who are remodeling older houses to take precautions to reduce the risk of exposure.
“Video footage of Magnolia’s renovations of older homes appearing in several seasons of “Fixer Upper” reviewed by EPA did not depict the lead-safe work practices normally required by the RRP Rule,” the agency said in a statement on its website.
The Gaines took immediate action to comply with the RRP rule and agreed to pay a fine over the violations, EPA officials said. The couple also agreed to spend $160,000 to help remove lead from older homes with children in Waco neighborhoods.
Children younger than 6 are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely impact mental and physical development, and even cause death in the worst cases, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The most common sources of lead poisoning in children are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in older buildings, but contaminated air, water and soil can also cause dangerous exposure.
For adults, the most common exposure occurs in those who work with batteries, auto repair workers and home renovators.