In mid-February, the California Supreme Court denied hearing a number of paint manufacturers’ appeals. The paint manufacturers, ConAgra, NL Industries, and Sherwin-Williams, were ordered in November by the Sixth District Court of Appeal in San Jose to pay a significant sum to the state to enable it to remove lead paint from older homes, where the paint still has the potential to cause people serious harm, particularly children. The manufacturers are responsible for homes built before 1951. The potential lead paint cleanup is intended for 10 cities and counties throughout the state, and is estimated to cost $400 million.
The ruling stands for now, however the manufacturers have been fighting this suit since 2000 and are not finished. They have indicated that they may appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. They also intend to place an initiative on the California ballot, known as the Healthy Homes and Schools Act. If passed, taxpayers would carry the burden for the $2 billion bond ultimately used to fund the lead paint cleanup.
The Threat of Lead Paint
The dangers of lead paint have been known for decades. Paint manufacturers stopped advertising it as early as the 1950s, and the government banned it in 1978. However, lead paint was used for decades and not properly cleaned up after people learned of what it could do. Many older homes and apartment buildings still have a great deal of lead paint inside and outside – so much so that children in multiple counties and cities in California have tested positive for increased lead levels.
Lead paint has contributed to many lead poisoning cases over the years. Lead poisoning occurs when too much lead builds up in the body due to consistent exposure, whether people often touch items containing lead, accidentally ingest it, or breathe in dust particles. Children under 6 years old are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning, and they are at a stage where the condition can severely impact their physical and mental development. At high levels, lead is fatal for both children and adults.
Who is Responsible for Lead Poisoning?
If you or your child have suffered from lead poisoning, the first investigation you must undertake is where you were exposed. It may be from your home, though exposure can also come from children’s toys, furniture, construction materials, and batteries.
If it is determined that the exposure was from your home, you should speak with an experienced landlord-tenant attorney. You are not going to try and hold the paint manufacturers responsible. This is typically a waste of your time and money. The lawsuit against the manufacturers, described above, is being pursued by multiple municipalities. Instead, in California, your landlord is responsible for any lead in your rental home.
Let Brod Law Firm Help
Brod Law Firm has specific experience in dealing with lead-based paint exposure in California homes. We are well-aware that lead poisoning still happens, and many landlords are not taking their responsibilities seriously. If you were not warned about lead paint, or it becomes clear that your landlord did nothing about it, then you may be able to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for your damages, including your medical expenses, costs of moving, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
To learn more about your rights after you or your child suffer lead poisoning for paint, call us at (800) 427-7020.
(image courtesy of Jon Moore)