Lead-Paint Legislative Alert

California case ensures removal of lead paint from old homes, but… Do you know your house history?

The dangers of lead-based paint have been known for years, but a California court has put some teeth into legislation that now requires three companies, Conagra Grocery Products, NL Industries and Sherwin-Williams Co., to pay $1.1 billion to California cities and counties to remove the dangerous paint from literally millions of older homes. The judge ruled that these companies marketed paint that they knew was harmful, which merited the large fine.

The paint industry has defended against many similar lawsuits, and has won most of them, until now.

“This may be a legislative trend, and more states may require paint companies to pay for the negligence and cleanup, but the fact remains that there are millions of homes in the U.S. that have lead-based paint on both interior and exterior surfaces,” said Eddy Lang, Housefax CEO. “This is one of the reasons we’ve included ‘Inspector Alerts’ in our Housefax Property History Reports, available at www.housefax.com. People living in older homes and prospective buyers can learn of ‘red flags’ previously noted by professional home inspectors that may include the use of dangerous lead-based paint, substandard polybutylene piping or of compromised roof and exterior structures.”

Lead-based paints have been banned from the American construction market since 1978, but many homes still carry the risk to this day. Exposure to lead-based paint has been linked to learning disabilities in children. The lawsuit noted that 60,000 children under the age of six suffered from lead poisoning between 2007 and 2010 in the 10 cities and counties that were awarded damages. “This is still a very real danger and should be a concern for anyone who is living in an older home, or considering buying one,” said Lang. “Housefax Reports include lead-based paint warnings according to the year the house was built.”