The County Counsels and City Attorneys of 10 California jurisdictions have reached a settlement on behalf of the People of the State of California that will provide $305 million to clean up the lead paint that poisons tens of thousands of children across the state each year.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced the landmark settlement Wednesday, saying the settlement will provide significant funding for the remediation of lead paint hazards in residential housing throughout Los Angeles County.
Under the settlement agreement, defendants The Sherwin-Williams Company, ConAgra Grocery Products Company, and NL Industries, Inc., will pay $305 million to the counties of Santa Clara, Alameda, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Mateo, Solano, and Ventura; the city and county of San Francisco; and the cities of Oakland and San Diego to address lead paint-related hazards in residential property.
Lead paint is the most significant environmental hazard for children in Los Angeles County and in California. Almost 3,000 children are diagnosed with lead poisoning in Los Angeles County each year.
“Children are still being poisoned by the lead in paint that these companies sold decades ago,” said Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Janice Hahn. “This settlement is an overdue victory and will finally allow us to remove lead from homes and protect generations of children to come.”
“We are gratified that this settlement brings much-needed funding to clean up lead paint hazards that exist in thousands of homes across Los Angeles County,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
“All our children deserve to live in homes and communities that are free of environmental hazards,” Ferrer said. “Our Lead Paint Hazard Mitigation Program offers low-income families with small children, a chance to eliminate exposure to lead paint hazards.”
This momentous settlement will provide the County of Los Angeles with the funding needed to protect children from ongoing exposure to lead paint hazards in their homes.
Lead is toxic, and exposure of children to lead can cause severe and permanent damage to the developing brain, including learning disabilities, deficits in attention and concentration, memory, comprehension, and impulse control.
This settlement will allow Public Health to create an intervention program that is targeted to provide services to those young children and their families who are most at risk for lead poisoning.
Public Health will partner with the Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA) to create the Lead Paint Hazard Mitigation Program.
“We are pleased to partner with the Department of Public Health to address lead hazards in older homes and provide solutions to protect our most vulnerable residents for generations to come,” said Monique Viehland-King, executive director of the LACDA.
The program will provide priority enrollment to Los Angeles County residential properties built before 1951 that house low-income families with children under 6 years of age or pregnant women. The services will include testing for and remediation of lead hazards in indoor and outdoor surfaces in homes.
In addition, the program will provide resources and education on lead hazards and how to prevent childhood lead poisoning.
Public Health and LACDA will partner with state and local governments and local non-profits to implement the program that is expected to launch in fall 2019.
For more information about the Lead Program, call (800)LA4-LEAD.