Limón Bill Ensures Accountability for Harm Caused by Lead-Based Paint

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

SACRAMENTO — Assembly Bill 2803, a bill by Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) which seeks to hold paint manufacturers accountable for harm caused by lead-based paint production, just  overcame a major legislative hurdle, passing the Assembly Floor on Monday, May 21st.  

Every year thousands of California children are subject to irreversible harm from lead exposure, as just a few particles of dust from lead-based paint are enough to poison a child. A recent court decision, People v. ConAgra Grocery Products Company (2017) found several manufacturers of lead-based paints to be liable for selling, manufacturing, distributing, and promoting lead-based paint despite having actual or constructive knowledge that the paint presented a hazard to human health.

This year, a 2018 ballot initiative sponsored by major paint companies would absolve these companies of legal liability to clean up lead paint hazards. AB 2803 codifies several components of the People v. ConAgra decision, to ensure that parties may be liable if they promote lead-based paint with actual or constructive knowledge that it was hazardous.

“The courts found paint companies to be responsible for lead contamination, it is of utmost importance that the people of California are able to recover abatement costs from lead paint manufacturers,” said Assemblymember Limón. “AB 2803 is a remedy that will address this long standing problem.”

Assemblymember Limón’s AB 2803 is one of several bills introduced this year that intend to hold paint companies liable for damages to California residents, and particularly children. Assembly Bills 2073 (Asm. Chiu), 2074 (Asm. Bonta), and 2995 (Asm. Carrillo) also seek to ensure greater accountability for lead-paint related damages, exemplifying a collective effort by California legislators to ensure that California children are no longer poisoned by the very homes they live in.

“Lead paint companies knowingly sold toxic lead paint to consumers for decades, and the courts found the companies were liable for creating a widespread public nuisance that they must pay to remedy,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco). “AB 2803 codifies important aspects of the court decision and brings us one step closer to holding the toxic lead paint companies accountable.”

Today, four separate committees; Assembly Committee’s on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, Housing and Community Development, and Judiciary, in addition to the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality are holding a joint hearing to discuss lead paint protection and accountability, and the 2018 ballot initiative which would absolve major paint companies from legal liability to clean up lead pain hazards.

“I am proud to co-author AB 2803 and work with Assemblymember Limón and our Assembly colleagues to protect our minority and low-income communities who continue to suffer the terrible health consequences of toxic lead paint,” said Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles). “These lead paint companies put profits over people and it is our responsibility to make sure they clean up their own mess.”

Monique Limón represents the 37th Assembly District which includes Santa Barbara, Ventura, Goleta, Carpinteria, Ojai, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Buellton, Solvang, Summerland, Isla Vista, Montecito and parts of Oxnard. She currently serves as Chair of the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee.

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