A recent study by researchers at Virginia Tech found that controlling German cockroaches using integrated pest management (IPM) is more effective than traditional pesticide spraying and is safer for pest control workers and residents.
Researchers evaluated methods used in 100 units of a low-income housing development in eastern Virginia, all with cockroach infestation. Half the units received traditional spraying, and the other half received IPM treatments including HEPA filter vacuuming, baiting, and insect growth regulators. While IPM treatments cost more, researchers found that IPM was far more effective than the more toxic chemical treatments.
Controlling cockroach infestations is a critical component of any healthy homes strategy. Cockroach waste, skin, and body parts contain an antigen that triggers attacks in many asthmatic children and adults. Using traditional, high-toxicity pesticides to control roaches, however, can also trigger asthma in sensitive individuals. Many pesticides are also suspected carcinogens, can cause birth defects, and may cause permanent developmental disabilities.
The study, titled “Cost and Efficacy Comparison of Integrated Pest Management Strategies with Monthly Spray Insecticide Applications for German Cockroach Control in Public Housing,” was published in the April 2004 edition of the Journal of Economic Entomology .
—from the Alliance for Healthy Homes, www.aeclp.org.
U.S. Chamber applauds SBA’s withdrawalof change to size standards
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced in the August 2004 issue of “uschamber.com” that the Small Business Administration (SBA) is withdrawing a proposed rule that the U.S. Chamber believed would “render tens of thousands of existing small businesses ineligible for special small business procurement opportunities, regulatory outreach, and loan programs.”
The rule in question concerned size standards for the applicants. According to the U.S. Chamber, “The current size standards designate small business status on the basis of industry figures, such as total receipts. The proposed rule would have based small business status, in some cases, on the number of employees. Yet the new rule failed to distinguish between full and part-time employees to the distress of retail and restaurant owners who depend on part-time labor.”
The U.S. Chamber had mounted a campaign against the proposed changes and cited its actions as a major influence in the SBA’s reversal. For additional information of interest to owners of small businesses, visit www.uschamber.com
.Lead-based paint case includes ruling on agent’s “waste of time” home inspection comment
An Ohio appellate court ruled the real estate agents “weren’t liable for negligence in failing to tell buyers about the paint” (lead-based), nor were they guilty of negligent misrepresentation for telling the buyers that having the home inspected was a “waste of time,” according to the article, “No knowledge means no liability,” in the September issue of REALTOR magazine.
The Alliance for Healthy Homes reports the Nunez et al. v. J.L. Sims Company, Inc., case may be appealed, based on the need for substantial compliance with the Federal Lead Hazard Disclosure Law, but the report does not mention the home inspection issue.
According to REALTOR magazine, “…the court found that the licensees’ statement that an inspection would be “a waste of time” didn’t provide false information about the property. The sales associates said that they’d made the statement only to indicate that the sellers wouldn’t make alterations to the property and were unwilling to lower the price or make repairs to the property. In addition, the court noted that the buyers had been given the opportunity to have the property inspected and declined to do so.”
For the full text of the article, visit www.realtor.org/rmomag.nsf/pages/
The Alliance for Healthy Homes comments on the same case in its report, “The Private Right of Action under the Federal Lead Hazard Disclosure Law.”
In the section, “Seeking Redress for Violations Under the Federal Lead Hazard Disclosure Law Through Private Enforcement,” the case is part of the second of eight examples under the heading, “Principles Arising From Private Enforcement Cases.”
“To date, few buyers and tenants have taken advantage of their right to sue. Most of the cases brought also assert state law claims, including negligence, negligence per se, breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, and breach of implied warranty of habitability. The following principles have emerged in the cases to date: …
“2. Courts differ over whether substantial compliance with the law is sufficient to avoid liability. The court in Smith v. Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services, 122 F. Supp. 2d 267 (2000) held that full statutory compliance is necessary. In this case, a real-estate broker who merely told the purchaser about a lead report prior to the signing of the sale contract did not satisfy the statutory mandate, which requires sellers to produce any lead hazard evaluation reports.
“In contrast, the court in Nunez et al. v. J.L. Sims Company, Inc., et al., No. C-020599 (Ohio Ct. App., 1 st Dist. 2003) allowed partial compliance with the requirements of the law. The Nunez court held that a real-estate broker did not violate the Disclosure Law when she provided the plaintiffs with information deemed by the court to provide adequate warning about lead hazards, rather than the required EPA pamphlet. (The Nunez decision may be appealed.)”
For a copy of the full report from The Alliance of Healthy Homes, entitled “The Private Right of Action under the Federal Lead Hazard Disclosure Law,” visit www.aeclp.org/res/res_pubs/ disclosure_Private_Enforcement.pdf
Note: The federal Disclosure Law (42 U.S.C. § 4852d) requires sellers and lessors to disclose the presence of lead-based paint and/or lead hazards to buyers and lessees. This statute, which was designed to increase public awareness surrounding lead-based paint hazards, can be enforced by EPA, HUD, and aggrieved buyers and tenants. The Disclosure Law empowers buyers and tenants to sue sellers, landlords, and their agents who knowingly fail to comply with their disclosure obligations. Plaintiffs can seek treble damages (three times the amount of damage incurred), as well as court costs, attorney’s fees, and expert witness fees from sellers and landlords who knowingly violate the law. (42 U.S.C. § 4852d(b)).