National News

HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines Will Pay Fine Over Lead Paint Violations

Posted June 7, 2018 11:45 p.m. EDT

Chip and Joanna Gaines, the stars of the HGTV television show “Fixer Upper,” have settled with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over allegations they violated rules for the safe handling of lead paint during home renovations.

The Gaineses have agreed to pay the EPA a civil fine of $40,000 and to inform their audience about the dangers of lead-based paint. Under the agreement, they will also take steps to ensure that their home renovation company, Magnolia Homes, is in compliance with EPA regulations, the agency said.

“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,” Susan Bodine, the assistant administrator in the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said in a statement.

Magnolia Homes was contacted by the EPA three years ago and “took immediate steps to bring its activities into compliance,” John Marsicano, a spokesman for the company, said in a statement.

As part of the settlement, Magnolia Homes will also spend $160,000 in Waco, Texas, where the company was founded, to decrease lead-based paint hazards in homes where residents are at high risks for exposure to dust from such paint, according to the EPA.

In “Fixer Upper,” the Gaineses make over newly purchased homes. During an hourlong episode, they demolish parts of the house, renovate it and reveal it to the homeowners.

The Gaineses have used the final season of their show to talk about the dangers of having lead-based paint in homes. In one episode, Chip Gaines discusses testing an old home for lead-based paints and talks about the EPA’s lead renovation, repair and painting rule, known as the RRP rule. The couple is also producing an online video about renovating homes that have lead-based paint.

The EPA banned the use of lead-based paint in homes in 1978, but homes built before that year probably still have such paint, making safety during home renovations a top priority of the agency.

The RRP rule requires that companies renovating homes and schools built before 1978 are certified by the EPA and “follow lead-safe work practices to contain dust in the renovation work area and contain the waste during its disposal,” according to the agency.

Marsicano said Magnolia Homes would 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.”