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Lead paint manufacturers may be held liable

After decades of federal action and numerous published studies, the general public in Ohio is well-aware of the dangers of lead paint. Litigation targeted against the major paint manufacturers has been compared to the wave of lawsuits filed against the tobacco and asbestos industries. Many see litigation against the paint industry as a way to tame or punish irresponsible manufacturers of toxic materials.

A trial began in July in California, in which several large cities are trying to make five of the largest paint manufacturers pay for $1 billion in damages that will be used to remove lead paint from older homes. The plaintiffs are trying to show that the paint industry misrepresented the risk of exposure to lead. The dangers of chipped and peeling lead paint were first suspected in 1948, but the paint companies kept producing lead paint.

Progress has been made in California towards reducing the dangers of toxic lead paint. Public health legislation has reduced the blood level of lead in children dramatically and landlords are required to address any dangers related to chipping and peeling lead paint. Maintaining the paint on walls, rather than replacing it, is recommended by health experts. This reduces the chance that the paint will chip.

Any successful litigation against the paint manufacturers will encourage them to be more responsible in the future. Exposure to toxic materials can cause tremendous suffering for the victims and their families. An Ohio attorney with experience in product liability may be able to help those who've been impacted by toxic chemicals. The attorney could pursue compensation for any medical bills that have resulted from exposure, or seeks funds to remove the toxic materials.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "A Last Chance for Lead Paint Litigation?", Paul M. Barrett, August 16, 2013

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