(STL.News) – Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Peter D. Lopez, Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2 (EPA), announced today that the United States has filed a civil lawsuit against Precision Consulting Inc., in New Hyde Park, New York and its principal, Wayne Gladney, of Queens Village, New York, for violating the Toxic Substances Control Act. The suit seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief preventing the defendants from performing lead-based paint abatements and renovations in the New York City area in violation of federal law.
Congress enacted the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”) in 1976 in response to a finding that people and the environment are exposed each year to a large number of potentially harmful chemical substances, including lead. Lead is commonly found in paints used in residences built prior to 1977. Its ingestion, even in small quantities, can cause serious health problems, including hypertension, kidney failure and infertility. Children six years and younger are the most vulnerable to the harmful effects of lead. Lead poisoning in that age group can lead to intelligence quotient deficiencies, reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavior problems. In adults, lead exposure can cause a decrease in renal function, spontaneous abortions and preterm birth. Lead dust may also be a trigger for asthma.
Property owners and managing agents typically hired the defendants to perform lead-based paint abatements or renovations following notification from the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (“Department of Health”) when a child residing at the property had an elevated blood lead level.
As alleged in the complaint, since 2012, Precision and Gladney have repeatedly performed lead-based paint abatements and renovations in the New York City metropolitan area in violation of TSCA and its implementing regulations.
The complaint further alleges that the defendants have performed more than two dozen unlawful abatements at residences in New York City since 2012. Between March 2017 and March 2020, defendants repeatedly violated TSCA and its implementing regulations, the Abatement Rule and Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, by failing to assign a certified supervisor to oversee the abatements; failing to follow post-abatement clearance procedures; failing to ensure that a certified abatement worker perform the abatements; and failing to obtain EPA certification prior to performing at least one renovation. Defendants continue to perform abatements and host websites promoting their abatement business in which they represent that they have expertise in compliance with laws and regulations related to abatement.
In performing unlawful abatements and renovations, defendants have placed the public, and particularly children, at risk of lead exposure.
“The United States filed this action to protect children and their families from defendants’ improper and unsafe lead-based paint abatements and renovations,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “This Office seeks an injunction to end these practices, demonstrating its commitment to protecting the public’s health from those who act outside the law.”
“Holding businesses and individuals accountable for flouting lead paint laws can serve as an effective deterrent to those who may otherwise seek to cut corners,” stated EPA Regional Administrator Lopez. “By not complying with EPA rules designed to ensure that lead paint activities are conducted by properly trained workers, the defendants put the public, including young children with documented elevated blood lead levels, at risk in their own homes.”
The case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana Priore of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, with the assistance of Assistant Regional Counsel Stuart Keith of EPA’s Regional Office, and Demian Ellis, Acting Chief of Toxics Compliance Section in the Pesticides and Toxic Substances Compliance Branch of EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division.