(uncredited photo from Fine Homebuilding)
As some may remember, I'm the certified lead-safe work practitioner here. I've made other posts on the matter and my position is that you don't need to freak out, but you have to use some common sense and a modicum of care.
Obviously, I'm not going to get hysterical when others don't do it perfectly, and I generally just warn folks who aren't doing it right to clean up before hugging kids and to keep their kids out of their dirty truck, don't dry sand, and the like. Adults are harder to hurt with lead. Kids are all too easy. So, besides worrying about the kids, I'm pretty mellow with regard to contractors not under my watch, but it really rankles to see folks pretending to be qualified to deal with lead paint while subjecting everyone including neighbors to unacceptable amounts of lead dust.
It looks like the hammer is coming down, finally. I have mixed feelings about level of the fines, but it is very much time to stop giving these guys a free pass.
EPA Nabs First Lead Contractor
I guess what I'd really like to see is for the EPA to have more realistic and meaningful standards and then do more enforcement on egregious malfeasance like this (using electric sanders on the outside of the building without any containment).
The downside of draconian EPA enforcement measures (as you may see in the comments on that blog posting) is that no contractors will work on older homes, or when they do, they either charge an arm and a leg, or they simply remove lead painted trim (or have it removed in the dead of night) rather than strip it--killing the historic charm of yet more buildings and perhaps creating more, worse health problems.
So, Good on the EPA for hammering a dangerous violator but now it's time to loosen lead clearance standards, firstly--they're meaningless now-- and then encourage compliance with best practices without using fear and intimidation for minor infractions.