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Karl A. Racine
Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia

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DC Corporation Counsel and State Attorneys General Announce Agreement to Protect Children from Lead Paint Poisoning

Monday, May 19, 2003

(Washington, DC) The District of Columbia and 45 states have finalized an agreement aimed at educating and warning consumers and families about the risk of exposure to old lead paint during repainting and other home renovation work, Interim Corporation Counsel Arabella W. Teal announced today.

The agreement, reached between the Office of the Corporation Counsel, state Attorneys General and the National Paint and Coating Association (NPCA), requires paint manufacturers to affix warning labels on paint cans and provide consumer education and training, alerting consumers to the hazards of lead paint exposure and how to avoid it.

"We believe that meaningful warning labels will substantially reduce the number of lead poisoning cases, especially relating to children," Interim Corporation Counsel Teal said. "This agreement will help educate families and consumers about the potential dangers associated with a home improvement project."

While lead paint has not been manufactured or sold since 1978, it still presents a serious health risk to adults and, especially, young children who are exposed to dust or occupy homes during renovations.

The agreement requires both a lead exposure warning on the side of the paint can, as part of the manufacturer's surface preparation instructions, as well as an abbreviated warning either on the top of the can or on a separate sticker where the warning is less likely to be obscured after the paint is used. The National Paint and Coatings Association has also agreed to fund and provide consumer education and training courses on lead-safe renovation and repainting to homeowners, contractors, landlords and housing workers. Also under the terms of the agreement, NPCA will develop discount programs for safety equipment.

Lead poisoning stemming from inadequate surface preparation prior to repainting affects children from all social and economic backgrounds. Whether repainting a rented apartment or installing a brand new kitchen, it is imperative that families take the proper precautions, especially in the District of Columbia's many older homes that predate the end of lead paint sales.


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 or log on to the web site.

In total, 50 jurisdictions signed on to the agreement, including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Consumer education and complaint information can be found on OCC's consumer protection web site.