‘Fixer Upper’ Remodels Trigger Lead Paint Fines (1)

By David Schultz

The home remodelers behind the hit reality TV show “Fixer Upper” were hit with a $40,000 fine by the EPA over violations of lead safety rules that allegedly occurred on camera.

Magnolia Homes, the company run by the HGTV show’s hosts, Chip and Joanna Gaines, agreed to pay the fine and also take a number of other corrective actions, including reducing lead hazards in its local community of Waco, Texas, and including warnings about lead on its nationally broadcast program.

Theses actions are estimated to cost the company a total of $160,000, an amount that doesn’t include the $40,000 fine. The fine and these other measures were outlined in a settlement agreement the Environmental Protection Agency reached with the show that was unveiled June 5.

The EPA reviewed footage from “Fixer Upper” and found that the show regularly depicted unsafe handling of what was likely lead paint while remodeling older homes. The agency said a subsequent review of the company’s practices found lead safety violations at 33 of its properties, including failure to post warning signs outside of a work area and failing to post plastic sheets on the ground to capture falling paint chips.

In response to the violations, Chip Gaines talked about lead paint hazards on “Fixer Upper” earlier this year and also tweeted about these hazards. Gaines has told the EPA he will also produce a stand-alone video later this year on the dangers of working with lead paint.

John Marsicano, a spokesman with Magnolia Homes, said in a June 5 statement that the company took immediate steps to come into compliance once contacted by the EPA.

“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.