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Research director Dr. David Jacobs of the National Center for Healthy Housing and an authority in abatement procedures testified for plaintiffs Thursday that the cost of a lead paint abatement program could exceed $1.4 billion in the 10 California jurisdictions pursuing a “public nuisance” case against paint manufacturers.
The trial taking place in Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg’s court is now into its fourth week. The case is expected to continue next week when plaintiffs introduce their last witness and defendants take the stand to argue that no public health threat exists, and that for what little exposure does exist in California, lead paint is not the primary source.
The plaintiffs, including Los Angeles and Santa Clara Counties and the cities of San Diego and San Francisco, are asking one time lead paint and pigment manufacturers to pay for the abatement costs of eliminating lead paint from homes to protect public health. Defendants NL Industries, the Sherwin-Williams Company, ConAgra Grocery Products, DuPont and Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO), claim the suit is without merit, that blood lead levels in California are close to zero and that other exposures, such as gasoline, are more likely to elevate blood lead levels than lead paint.
Congress banned lead-based paints in the U.S. in 1978, but plaintiffs contend the paint remains in millions of homes and is the...