Arguments began this week in Santa Clara County in a 13-year-old lawsuit to force paint manufacturers to pay nearly $1 billion to remove lead paint from millions of homes. Ten counties, including Alameda, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and several cities have sued five paint companies, arguing they sold the products despite being aware of the health hazards of lead. Lead paint has been banned in the state since 1978, but it still remains on many homes built before that. The paint industry argues they never deliberately sold harmful products and that the older paint no longer poses a significant health risk.

Julie Twichell, communications manager for the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at the Alameda County Healthy Homes Department
Richard Frank, director of the California Environmental Law and Policy Center at UC Davis
Bonnie Campbell, former Iowa attorney general and an advisor to the defense

  • Steven

    To say that lead paint no longer poses a problem is ridiculous. For example, lead primer is absorbed into wood. Even if the wood is stripped clean of all paint, the lead is still in the structure of the wood. If a child sinks their teeth into this wood, they can get a dose of lead paint. If this wood is part of the window, the movement of the window causes dust which can sit on the sill or blow into the the home. Children put their hands on this dust, then in their mouths. This is one of the most common causes of lead poison.

    The paint industry has hid behind lies, false science, and greed just to protect less than a penny a gallon. Unbelievable. Talk about not carrying about our children! Sham on them!

  • Steven

    It is not like lead just became an issue. In a famous letter, dated July 31, 1786, written to Benjamin Vaughan from Benjamin Franklin, he identified the problems of a numbers of lead products, including lead paint.

    It is interesting that numerous countries band lead based paint many years before the US. It was the paint industry that fought to keep lead paint alive.

    Another argument that the current paint industry uses is that they did not own these companies when lead was in paint. Too bad, you bought these companies and under the law you now own the problems they have caused.

    • Fay Nissenbaum

      interesting. thanks for telling us that.

  • $18685506

    Did I miss it? What about leaded gasoline? That had far more reach!

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Please comment on the training contractors get to call themselves “certified or licensed” to remove lead paint. My house contractor said that the training is far too minimal – that no one should be called an “expert” in removal from taking one three-hour class. So if you hire someone to do lead removal, ask how many homes and how many years they’ve been doing it. In other words, talk is cheap – show me the experience through time.

  • Tamara Rubin

    To see the trailer for an upcoming documentary feature film on the subject, please check out

  • Tamara Rubin

    To post a question where someone with expertise in all things lead – please “like” our documentary film’s Facebook page and post a comment or message there. Thank you:

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