Pennsylvania counties are filing suit against Sherwin Williams, Conagra, and other manufacturers of lead paint following the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of the industry’s appeal. The Supreme Court’s rejection means the California court’s $409 million verdict stands. The money will be used to pay for remediation in the 10 counties and cities that sued the companies. The companies argue the California verdict violates their constitutional rights and has asked a federal judge in Pennsylvania to stop litigation in that state before it starts. Read more here.
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The U.S. EPA announced a settlement with a Chicago area renovation company, Euro Tech, Inc. The Bensenville company allegedly violated the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule by failing to provide records to EPA to demonstrate compliance with the rule. Companies performing renovations on residences constructed before 1978’s ban on lead paint must take measures to reduce the hazards inherent in disturbing surfaces painted with lead. The company has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $52,793 and has certified that it is now complying with the rule. Read more here.
The horrific and avoidable events in Flint have resulted in expansive coverage on lead poisoning, with a focus on lead in paint, and in water. The popular satirical news shows Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore each recently featured segments on lead: Oliver’s Lead and Wilmore’s Super Depressing Deep Dive – The Originals of America’s Lead Poisoning Crisis.
Because of the debacle in Flint, Michigan that led to contaminated water supplies, the media and legislators are focusing attention on the problem of children being poisoned by lead. It isn’t just a problem in Flint, or a handful of cities in the US. The New York Times features Cleveland in its March 3, 2016 article.
As increasing attention is paid to the scourge of lead poisoning, and its history in our inner cities, The Conversation published a piece in February exploring the link between postwar suburban development and today’s inner-city lead poisoning, with proposals for new funding sources . See https://theconversation.com/the-surprising-link-between-postwar-suburban-development-and-todays-inner-city-lead-poisoning-54453.
The Chicago Tribune continues its series examining how the City responds to concern about lead poisoning in homes – both through lead paint and lead in water. To see the full article go to http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/ct-chicago-lead-pipes-water-testing-met-20160226-story.html.
The outrage over Flint, Michigan’s contaminated water supply should serve as a wakeup call about the problem of lead poisoning more broadly and its sources. While attention should not/cannot move away from Flint, fixing Flint’s pipes will not be sufficient to protect its children from the harms of an even greater source of lead poisoning, lead paint. In his February 7th column, Nicholas Kristof quotes a former CDC official, “Flint is a teachable moment for America.” Read more.