Court Battle Wages on Between CA Cities and Makers of Lead Paint

In a landmark case, major California cities have joined together and taken the manufacturers of lead house paint to court. Asking for nearly $2.5 billion from the lead house paint manufactures, the local California governments hope to see the remaining lead exterior paint removed from public buildings and homes.

Taking a cue from the highly successful cases against the asbestos and tobacco industries – where makers were ultimately financially responsible for the adverse affects of exposure to their products – the plaintiffs in California hope to sufficiently prove that these lead paint makers are causing a public nuisance. Simply, the public nuisance caused by the lead paint is the potential and actual exposure levels to the community, especially in that of children.

Among the companies the California towns hold responsible are Sherwin-Williams Co., ConAgra Grocery Products Co. and DuPont Co. The suit alleges that the manufacturers of lead paint are aware of how dangerous the paint is – especially to children, causing lasting effects on mental and physical development – and continued to sell and promote their products.

Though the $2.5 billion price tag is hefty, the California towns are not looking for the complete abatement of lead paint from existing homes and buildings. For areas considered high traffic with an increased level of “friction,” such as doors and windows, the suit is looking for the lead paint makers to either remove the toxic paint or seal it in a protective, lasting manner.

Classified on the same level, exposure to asbestos or cigarette smoke can lead to cancer. For asbestos, an especially dangerous form of cancer, mesothelioma, develops only from asbestos exposure. Though there are three main types of mesothelioma cancer, the most commonly diagnosed – and most commonly associated with asbestos exposure – is pleural mesothelioma, a form of mesothelioma where the delicate lining surrounding the lungs is damaged from inhaled or ingested asbestos particles. In most cases, a mesothelioma cancer, regardless of type, diagnosis is terminal.

A ruling is expected by the end of the year.

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