Firms ordered to pay SF, others to remove lead paint

January 7, 2014
San Francisco Chronicle

A judge issued a final ruling Tuesday ordering three paint companies to pay the state $1.15 billion to remove lead paint from interior surfaces of pre-1978 homes in 10 California cities and counties, including San Francisco, Alameda and San Mateo.

Santa Clara County Superior Court JudgeJames Kleinberg reaffirmed a tentative decision he had issued Dec. 16 saying the companies - Sherwin-Williams, ConAgra and NL Industries - had sold and promoted lead paint for decades while knowing it was dangerous to children.

The federal government banned sales of lead paint in 1978, but Kleinberg said it remains a health hazard, citing a study conducted between 2007 and 2010 that found at least 50,000 children in the 10 cities and counties had elevated levels of lead in their blood.

The ruling would create a state fund to strip lead paint from doors, windows and floors of homes in those communities. Cleanup crews will also remove lead-containing dust and seal off or cart away contaminated soil from homes whose owners consent, Kleinberg said.

He had set the amount at $1.1 billion in his tentative ruling, but agreed with the cities and counties Tuesday that another $50 million was needed for the cleanup.

The suit was filed by Santa Clara County in 2000 and joined later by six other counties and the cities of Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco. Those communities have 4.7 million homes built before 1978, and one survey indicates more than half of them contain lead paint, Kleinberg said... (To read the entire article, please click HERE)