Property managers, owners, and landlords can breathe a collective sigh of relief. A Northern California Superior Court Judge ruled that the 1.1 billion dollar expenses associated with the removal of lead paint and any related building deficiencies of residences built prior to 1978 will lay in the laps of three major paint manufacturers.
The Honorable James P Kleinberg ruled that three major paint manufacturers (ConAgra, NL Industries, and Sherwin Williams) were fully aware prior to the banning of lead paints that their products were harmful. He suggests that as early as 1930 the manufacturers were aware of the harmful effect of lead paint. The fashion of the lawsuit (public nuisance) allowed for the prior history (willful selling of a dangerous product) of the companies to impact the case. The companies contend they had no idea that prior to the product becoming illegal, that it was harmful. Representatives of the three companies state that this ruling is not most beneficial to the tenants but to the landlord and owners of the properties that remained not renovated since 1978. This ruling, they contend benefits the negligent landlords for whom allowed their buildings to remain in disrepair and shoves the costs unfairly upon companies who were merely selling a product.
The effects of lead paint ingestion are well documented. The paint which was commonly used in buildings prior to its banning in 1978, has extensive medical research of the injurious results of exposure. Children whom commonly gnaw on different surfaces are more vulnerable to these harmful neurological and developmental effects. This paint, which like any other paint eventually chips, is typically ingested by inhalation of these flecks. To negate the unsavory effects merely painting over the lead paint will not suffice. Complete removal of the paint must occur to prevent any form of ingestion from occurring. According to Paul Elias of the Associate Press,” The 10 cities and counties awarded damages are the counties of Santa Clara, Alameda, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Mateo, Solano and Ventura, and the cities of Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco.”