Lead Paint Danger
Manufacturers knew the dire health risks of lead paint, but continued to market it. Now the paint corporations are trying to avoid accountability for poisoning generations of kids.

It’s a proven fact: Manufacturers of lead paint have known for more than a century that their product posed a toxic threat – particularly to kids – but continued to sell it anyway. Although government regulators forced the paint companies to end sales of lead-based paint 40 years ago, it remains on the walls of many California homes, particularly those in low-income neighborhoods. Children living in such areas today continue to face a poisoning threat if they ingest pealing lead paint.

After an epic legal battle, in 2014 a California court ruled in favor of ten California cities and counties that had sued the lead paint manufacturers. Their attorneys proved that the corporate giants were aware of lead paint dangers but callously disregarded the public health threat. Last year, a state appeals court upheld the key legal finding – that the companies had created a widespread public nuisance. The companies were ordered to clean up the mess they created.

But now those same companies have stormed the state Capitol with lobbyists, money and political muscle. They're threatening to mount an massive initiative battle later this year in hopes of convincing state lawmakers to let them off the hook. Much as they had for decades while marketing their poison paint, the manufacturers have in 2018 been spreading misinformation about what's at risk.

Meanwhile, a bill is moving through the Legislature that would halt the poison paint companies in their tracks. AB 2803 seeks to codify the court’s lead paint decision and extend the protections beyond the 10 cities and counties that filed the lawsuit.

If the paint manufacturers don't get what they want, they have an initiative ready for the November 2018 ballot that would allow them to sidestep responsibility for cleaning up the toxic threat in California homes. To win, the companies would have to spend tens of millions of dollars trying to sway public sentiment.

It would be a steep hill to climb because there is no disputing the dangers of poisonous lead paint. The federal Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics and every other major public health organization all agree that lead-based paint is the primary cause of childhood lead poisoning. If ingested, it can damage the brain and kidneys, and cause infertility. Public health officials say nearly 75,000 children in California tested positive for lead poisoning between 2010 and 2014 -- and the actual number of cases was likely far greater because testing is not routinely performed.

Consumer Attorneys are working hard with a broad coalition of groups to fight back against this clear and present danger to California children.

Read more: http://cleanuptoxicpaint.org/
Details of lead paint case and health effects: https://www.sccgov.org/leadpaint


Media:
LA Times: “Paint companies poisoned people with lead additives. Now they want a billion-dollar bailout.”
San Francisco Chronicle: “What’s beneath surface of lead paint ballot measure."
Sacramento Bee: “Lead poisons kids. Who should pay to clean it up: You or the companies that profited?”