This week, thirteen years in the making and involving ten California cities as well as five companies that once sold lead-based painting, began a trial. These cities are suing the parent companies and paint-producing businesses, claiming that they knowingly endangered children’s health by allowing lead-based paint to be sold.
Due to health concerns, lead paint was banned from the United States in 1978. It is still found on the walls in millions of California homes. Antonio Dias, representative of Sherwin-Williams Corporation, said that lead-based painting is safe if it is left unaltered. However, experts testified at Wednesday’s trial that lead-based painted was the primary cause of lead exposure for children. Children can inhale paint dust by opening windows and ingest paint chips that have been removed from older homes where the toxic agent was used.
The lawsuit centers around the assertion that lead-based paint removal from homes is a “public nuisance.” Bonnie J. Campbell (a representative for defendants) laughed at this claim, saying that it has “no factual and legal merit.” Continue Dias: “It’s surprising that these countries would treat their homeowners of well-maintained houses like they would owners of crack houses.”
High levels of lead exposure can cause death, brain swelling, kidney damage and anemia. The effects on children are more severe, with impaired cognitive function, stunted development, delayed puberty, intellectual learning disabilities, and impairments in behavior.