SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Several Bay Area Counties including Santa Clara, San Francisco, Alameda and San Mateo announced a major victory in a decades-long legal battle against makers of lead-based paint.
“What came out at trial is while they were busy marketing lead paint, they knew it was toxic and harmful to our community,” said Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams.
The settlement requires Sherwin Williams, Conagra and NL Industries to pay a combined $305-million for lead paint removal and abatement in ten California counties and cities.
If eaten, lead paint, peelings and dust can have serious health impacts on the developing brains of young children, including decreased intelligence and learning disabilities.
“If I had young children and I knew that conditions in a home were dirty, dusty and in bad condition, I wouldn’t want them there at all. I would want things cleaned up and done properly prior to me living in the house,” said Christopher Luengo, President of R.B. Construction.
According to the settlement, there is an estimated 6.1-million homes in the counties covered by the lawsuit that may contain lead.
Luengo says lead paint is typically cleaned up by painting over or removing all materials believed to be contaminated. But those are expensive options and that’s where the 305-million dollar settlement fund comes in.
“Many people can’t afford the cost of lead paint testing, remediation, cleanup. And this will provide a resource to the community more broadly,” Williams said.