Last year, a controversial case in which the State of California sued Sherwin-Williams over lead paint removal was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled that Sherwin-Williams could be held responsible for cleaning up thousands of homes in California that had been contaminated with lead paint. It will cost Sherwin-Williams $409 million to aid decontamination efforts in at least 10 California cities and counties.
Here in Ohio, however, it is a different story. Municipalities across Ohio are still in the process of determining how the cleanup is going to be paid for. In Cleveland, where more than a quarter of kindergarten students had a history of lead poisoning, government officials are still trying to figure out a way to pay for the cleanup. An attempt was made to have government agencies partner with local businesses to fund the cleanup, but it fell apart.
The California lawsuit was filed in 2000 when evidence was presented that not only did paint companies supply lead paint to the American public, but they knew about the potential dangers while they were doing so. While California was attempting to figure out a way to pay for the cleanup, Ohio legislators were busy protecting the businesses responsible from liability.
In 2006, major Ohio cities such as Cincinnati and Cleveland attempted to file suit against the paint companies responsible for causing the public health crisis. Instead of fighting the allegations in court, the paint manufacture companies lobbied state legislators to pass laws that severely limited consumer fraud lawsuits against the companies that manufactured lead paint. As a result, the Ohio cities that filed suit over the cleanup costs dropped their lawsuits against the companies. Today, the lead paint cleanup initiatives remain largely unfunded.
According to the Mayo Clinic, even small amounts of lead paint can cause serious health problems. This is more true for children whose bodies are smaller than it is for adults. The lead paint can build up in their system where it reaches toxic levels. Dust from the paint can be inhaled and we all know the jokes about eating paint chips. This is because, among the problems that lead paint causes, pica, or the eating of non-food-related objects is a symptom. In addition, lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities and developmental delays.
The Bowling Green personal injury attorneys at Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott represent injury victims in lawsuits against negligent parties. Give us a call or talk to us online to set up a free consultation. We can help.
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