EPA reaches settlement with Magnolia Homes for alleged lead paint violations on HGTV's 'Fixer Upper'
By Maria Halkias
The Dallas Morning News
June 07. 2018 6:44PM
Joanna Gaines in October 2015. Chip and Joanna Gaines have reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which alleged the stars of HGTV's "Fixer Upper" violated rules for safe handling of paint hazards in their renovations. (Ashley Landis/Dallas Morning News/TNS)
Waco's home improvement celebrities Chip and Joanna Gaines have reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency which alleged the stars of HGTV's Fixer Upper violated rules for safe handling of paint hazards in their renovations.
The specific violations had to do with older homes and lead paint and stem back to 2015, the EPA said Tuesday. The Gaineses agreed to spend $160,000 to abate lead-based paint hazards in Waco homes “where occupants are at the highest risk for exposure to dust from lead-based paint.”
Within 90 days, the Gaineses must broadcast a video on their Magnolia website that details proper handling of renovations in homes that have lead paint. It will feature Chip Gaines and will be shared on the couple's social media. The Gaineses have huge national followings on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as well as their blogs published on magnolia.com.
Magnolia Homes also agreed to pay a civil penalty of $40,000.
Under the terms of the settlement, the EPA said, Magnolia “will take steps to ensure compliance with lead-based paint regulations in future renovation projects, address lead-based paint hazards at high-risk homes in Waco, Texas, and educate the public to lead-based paint hazards and appropriate renovation procedures.”
This settlement stems from allegations that Magnolia did not comply with all of the requirements of the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule during work on 33 properties in Waco. Those allegations were detailed in a Nov. 29, 2017 administrative complaint filed by EPA.
After the company was first contacted by the EPA in 2015, the federal agency said that Magnolia took immediate steps to obtain EPA certification and bring its activities into compliance with Toxic Substances Control Act.
John Marsicano, a spokesman for Magnolia, said Tuesday that Magnolia also made the decision to create a compliance management program with an enhanced record-keeping checklist for its staff and subcontractors.
“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,” Marsicano said in an emailed statement.
Lead-based paint was banned for use in housing in 1978. Houses built prior to 1978 are likely to have at least some lead-based paint and the EPA rule is designed to prevent exposure to lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards resulting from renovations.
The fifth and last season of Fixer Upper aired on HGTV this spring. The Gaineses said earlier this year that it would be their final season and they planned to focus on other projects and their family. Joanna Gaines is pregnant with their fifth child, a boy, who is due this summer.