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Friday, August 9, 2013

Plaintiffs’ expert in lead paint trial says industry took responsibility for public health

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (Legal Newsline) – Manufacturers of lead based pigments and paints were aware of the dangers lead exposure posed nearly 100 years ago, but promoted them anyway, according to testimony from the latest expert witness in a public lawsuit against current owners of former lead paint and pigment manufacturing companies.

Dr. Gerald Markowitz, a historian and professor at City University of New York, blamed a deregulation principle that allowed paint companies to continue mixing lead in paint for generations, despite known and documented health hazards within the paint industry.

“There was a firm belief in the U.S. up until very recently that regulation of toxic substances, except in food, should not be regulated,” Markowitz said. “It was a firm belief within (the) industry that they had responsibility rather than government to protect the workforce and protect the public.”

Markowitz testified at trial Wednesday in a case brought by 10 cities and counties in California, including Los Angeles County and the cities of San Diego and San Francisco, against companies and parent companies of one-time lead-based paint makers. The plaintiffs want the companies to pay for the cost of eliminating lead paint from homes in their jurisdictions. Defendants include The Sherwin-Williams Company, ConAgra Grocery Products, DuPont and Atlantic Richfield Company.

The People of California v. Atlantic Richfield Company et al is being heard...

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