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May 14, 2003 7:41 AM
Fifty Attorneys General Reach Agreement with National Paint and Coatings Association

Agreement To Protect Consumers and their Children From Lead Paint Poisoning

Attorneys General from 45 states, four jurisdictions and the District of Columbia Corporation Counsel reached an agreement with the National Paint and Coatings Association (NPCA), requiring manufacturers to place warning labels on paint cans and provide consumer education and training about the hazards of lead paint exposure and how to avoid it. Paint cans will bear a lead exposure warning on the side of the can as part of the manufacturer's surface preparation instructions, as well as a warning on the top of the can or on a separate sticker where it is likely to remain visible, even after the paint has been used. Consumers will also be able to pick up information on how to protect against lead exposure when they buy new paint. In addition, NPCA has agreed to fund and provide consumer education on lead-safe home improvement and to develop discount programs for safety equipment that consumers can use when working on homes with lead paint.

"When consumers take on a home repair or repainting project, they need to know about the potential danger that lurks in old layers of lead paint," said North Carolina Attorney General and NAAG Consumer Protection Committee Convener Roy Cooper. "Putting meaningful warning labels on every can of paint will help consumers know that they need to protect their families, especially their children, from the risks of lead poisoning."

"Though lead paint hasn't been sold since 1978, it still presents a serious health risk to adults and especially, young children, when exposed to dust or old surface paint during repainting and renovations," said Ohio Attorney General and NAAG Consumer Protection Committee Co-Convener Jim Petro. "My hope is that these warning labels will help educate consumers about the potential dangers associated with a home improvement project and reduce the number of lead poisoning cases, especially relating to children."

"Meaningful warning labels and education will substantially reduce the number of lead poisoning cases reported and provide real protection to families and consumers from the risks associated with home renovation projects," said Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly. "Paint companies tell consumers to scrape and sand old paint to prepare for painting, but their warning labels fail to explain that this creates harmful lead dust."

To learn more about working safely with lead paint, consumers should call the Environmental Protection Authority's Lead Information Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323) or log onto www.epa.gov/lead.

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