Sears Home Improvement Products, Inc. Information Sheet
Overview of Company and Location
Sears Home Improvement Products, Inc. (the Company) is located in Longwood, Florida. The case involves renovation activities conducted at property constructed prior to 1978, located in cities across Minnesota, Wisconsin, California, Georgia, Nevada and New York.
The Complaint and proposed Consent Decree address alleged violation of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule), 40 C.F.R. Part 745, Subpart E. The United States alleges that the Company failed to provide documentation regarding the requirement to:
- Assign certified renovators.
- Provide certification of compliance.
- Provide on-the-job training for workers.
- Comply with lead-safe work practice standards, including post-cleaning verification.
- Establish and maintain records or to make available or permit access to or copying of records.
This enforcement action is expected to contribute to a significant reduction in lead exposure by increasing compliance with the rule and increasing awareness of the rule’s requirements among the public and regulated community.
Health and Environmental Effects
Lead exposure affects the nervous system and can cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children six years old and younger are most at risk. If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:
- Damage to the brain and nervous system
- Behavior and learning problems, such as hyperactivity
- Slowed growth
- Hearing problems
- In rare cases of acute lead poisoning from ingestion of lead, seizures, coma and even death.
Lead can accumulate in our bodies over time, where it is stored in bones along with calcium. During pregnancy, lead is released from bones as maternal calcium is used to help form the bones of the fetus. This is particularly true if a woman does not have enough dietary calcium. Lead can also be easily circulated from the mother's blood stream through the placenta to the fetus. Mothers with high levels of lead in their bodies can expose their developing fetuses, resulting in serious and developmental problems including:
- Premature births or low birth weight,
- Brain damage, decreased mental abilities and learning difficulties, and/or
- Reduced growth in young children.
The proposed Consent Decree requires the Company to pay a civil penalty of $400,000 and perform enhanced compliance measures company-wide. The Consent Decree is subject to judicial approval.