Thursday, May 17, 2018

Lead Paint Manufacturer to Pay California $60 Million in Settlement

lead paint exposure
After 18 years in court, a lead paint manufacturer
must pay over $60 million to help remove lead paint
from homes across California.

After 18 years of litigation, a lead paint manufacturer is set to pay more than $60 million to remove the toxic material from homes across California.

Yesterday, NL Industries and the People of the State of California reached a landmark settlement to address concerns of lead paint in residential areas. Under the agreement, NL Industries will provide $60.18 million to Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Alameda,  Monterey, San Mateo, San Francisco, Solano and Ventura counties - and the cities of Oakland and San Diego.

 “For nearly two decades, we have been fighting to protect vulnerable young children from the very serious harms caused by lead paint. We are pleased that NL has decided to resolve this matter and that millions of dollars can now go to address the harms to children resulting from toxic lead paint in homes,” James R. Williams., Santa Clara County Counsel, said in a recent press release.

The lawsuit was filed in 2000 alongside other landmark lead paint cases in California. However, the suit gained significant traction last year when the California Court of Appeals upheld the Supreme Court's decision. The California Supreme Court decided to hold former lead paint manufacturers accountable for their contribution to the lead paint crisis in the state of California.

Beyond the $60 million payout, NL Industries has agreed under the settlement to immediately withdraw its support from a ballot initiative for the November 2018 election. This initiative would invalidate the California Supreme Court of Appeals ruling- and instead ask for taxpayers to front $3.9 billion for lead paint removal.

“Although NL does not agree with the ruling in the courts, and by settling does not admit to any of the claims in the case, NL would prefer that its limited financial resources be used to fund public health programs rather than be spent on continued litigation,” Andre Pauka, counsel for NL Industries, said in a recent press release.

The toxicity of lead paint is well documented and lead exposure is known to cause neurological and reproductive deformities as well as blood, bone and gastrointestinal health abnormalities. Acute lead exposure can lead to death, but advocates are most concerned about low-level exposure over a period of time- similar to what those who grow up in lead contaminated homes experience. Chronic lead exposure has been linked to irreversible cognitive delays and behavioral issues in children. Because disadvantaged children are most likely to experience lead poisoning, efforts have been made at both state and federal levels to reduce this health hazard. One such effort is getting lead paint out of old homes.

“The hazards of lead paint have created a public health crisis for communities in California and across our nation,” Dennis J. Herrera, San Francisco City Attorney, said in a recent press release.

Although a settlement has been reached with NL Industries, there are still two other defendants named in the lawsuit- ConAgra Grocery Products Company and The Sherwin-Williams Company. This case is still in trial.

To learn more about the lawsuit, visit the case summary. To learn more about lead paint and how to get involved in this dynamic industry, visit Zack Academy's lead homepage.

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