Lead warnings on paint

In what is being hailed as a possible model for government/industry negotiations addressing public issues, the U.S. paint industry and 46 state attorneys general and five other jurisdictions reached agreement on a plan to reduce lead poisoning caused by old paint.

The agreement takes effect in September and initially requires paint manufacturers to place prominent stickers on paint cans warning that exposure to lead dust can occur during home renovations.

By the end of 2004, all paint cans larger than 16 oz must bear a uniform and permanent warning. The agreement also includes a national training program on how to safely eliminate lead paint in old homes and provides discounts on some equipment used to remove old paint.

Although no lead paint has been manufactured or sold in the United States since 1978, exposure to lead paint dust or chips remains a serious hazard, particularly to children. Rhode Island, which did not sign the agreement, and several cities and counties have sued the paint industry for creating conditions that can lead to lead poisoning.

The National Paint and Coatings Assn. estimated that implementing the agreement will cost more than $250 million over four years.

More in Home