An Evanston property management firm will have to pay a fine and replace windows in two buildings after settling a lead paint complaint brought by the Environmental Protection Agency.

In a news release, the EPA said the complaint against Wesley Realty Group of Evanston involved alleged failure to warn tenants of several apartment buildings that their homes may contain lead-based paint hazards.

The agency said the settlement involves payment of a $6,760 penalty and requires the firm to remove and dispose of wood windows and replace them with new double-hung vinyl windows at 39 rental units at 821-823 Dobson St. and 2525 Eastwood Ave. within 12 months.

The company must pay at least $60,984 for replacement of the 392 windows under the oversight of a licensed lead-based paint inspector.

The company also manages buildings at 1119 Washington St. and at nine sites in Chicago and one in Maywood.

Federal lead-based paint disclosure rules require that landlords and sellers of housing constructed prior to 1978 provide tenants and buyers with general and property-specific lead-hazard information and include a lease or contract clause to confirm that prospective tenants or buyers have received the lead warnings prior to signing the contract to lease or purchase.

Lead exposure can cause reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, reduced height, poor hearing and a host of other health problems in young children.

Peeling lead paint is the most common source of lead exposure to children in the United States. About 75 percent of the nation’s housing built before 1978 contains lead-based paint. When properly managed, lead-based paint poses little risk. If paint is not maintained, however, even low levels of lead exposure can threaten occupants’ health, especially children and pregnant women. More information is available online.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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