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EPA reaches settlement with Two Chicks and A Hammer over alleged violations

The EPA alleges that Two Chicks and A Hammer worked on three homes built before 1978 where they did not comply with the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Environmental Protection Agency has reached a settlement with Indianapolis home renovators Two Chicks and A Hammer over alleged violations depicted on their HGTV show "Good Bones."

Mina Starsiak Hawk and her mother, Karen Laine, started rehabbing dilapidated Indianapolis homes 15 years ago. They became Two Chicks and A Hammer and started on television. Their beautiful home renovations can be seen all over neighborhoods on the near southeast side and on their show. 

The Environmental Protection Agency apparently watches.

The EPA alleges that, starting in 2017, Two Chicks and A Hammer worked on three homes built before 1978 where they did not comply with the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule. Violations were allegedly depicted on episodes of "Good Bones."

"Compliance with federal lead paint laws is essential to protect children across the country and is a priority for EPA,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore in a news release. “With so many people watching TV shows like these for tips on remodeling their own homes, it's extremely important for these shows to demonstrate lead-safe work practices."

The EPA did not specify the alleged violations, but announced a settlement that includes Two Chicks and A Hammer paying a $40,000 fine and Starsiak Hawk starring in a video about renovations involving lead-based paint. 

She responded to the settlement with a statement: 

“Like anything else with TV or social media, people only see the highlight reel. Two Chicks and A Hammer has no control over the editing process for the show and what is portrayed to the public. We have always taken all precautions when dealing with hazardous materials when demolishing structures. That part of the process isn't 'interesting' enough to make the TV cut. Each episode shows 42 minutes of a six-month process. We value our buyers’ safety and recognize the importance of the EPA and the importance of builders following safe building practices.” 

RELATED: HGTV renews Indianapolis mother-daughter duo for 2nd season

As part of the settlement, Two Chicks and A Hammer will post another video on their social media platforms about protecting children from lead exposure. 

EPA has designated the reduction of childhood lead exposures as a high priority. The agency says the settlement supports the agency’s continuing commitment to implement the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts

EPA has settled several other RRP enforcement cases with programs that air on HGTV/Discovery, the same network that airs "Good Bones," including "Fixer Upper," "Texas Flip N Move," "Rehab Addict" and "Bargain Mansions."

Lead can cause irreversible and life-long health effects, including decreasing IQ, focus, and academic achievement in children. While lead is dangerous to all children, not all children are equally exposed to lead, nor do they suffer the same consequences of exposure. The harmful impacts of lead disproportionately impact environmentally overburdened, low-income families and their communities. 

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