National Paint and Coatings Association Opposes Ohio Lead Lawsuit

April 9, 2007

Calling Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann’s decision to sue 10 companies over the issue of lead poisoning “unfounded and ill-conceived,” the National Paint and Coatings Association Inc. (NPCA) has announced it strongly opposes the AG’s litigation.

The federal government banned lead paint in 1978, but it still turns up in older buildings. Lead in the bloodstream can cause neurological damage and learning disabilities, especially in children.

The Associated Press reported that Dann filed suit against paint manufacturers and chemical companies that he alleges continued to make and sell lead paint knowing it presented health hazards.

In its statement, the NPCA pointed out that the coatings industry has a long history of being proactive in the campaign to eliminate childhood lead poisoning. Over 50 years ago, in 1954, the association and its members established, in cooperation with the American Academy of Pediatrics, a consensus standard which eliminated the use of lead in consumer house paints and on articles accessible to children. In 1971, the industry testified in favor of the first federal standard on the use of lead in paint as part of the Federal Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act passed by Congress. Shortly thereafter, the industry supported the eventual ban of lead in consumer paints by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 1978.

The NPCA said that in 2003 on behalf of the paint industry, it entered into a landmark, cooperative agreement with 50 state attorneys general – from 46 states (including Ohio), Washington, D.C., and three territories – to increase public awareness of lead-based paint hazards and to train renovation and remodeling contractors (including painting contractors) to safely work with old, lead-based paint.

According to the NPCA efforts under this agreement, which continue to this date, resulted in:

– New product labeling on over 2 billion containers to alert consumers and contractors to the potential dangers of deteriorated lead-based paint and provide lead-safe work practice instructions (including the toll-free EPA Lead Hotline number and Web site);

– The distribution of over 4 million EPA lead hazard awareness brochures (in English and Spanish) at paint retail point-of-sale locations;

– Ongoing free classroom training sessions (using the government-approved curriculum, with classes in English and Spanish) that have reached over 12,000 individuals throughout the country (in all 50 states) on lead-safe work practices for renovation and remodeling (attendees include contractors, housing officials, property managers, private homeowners and many others).

Sources: National Paint and Coatings Association Inc., Associated Press

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