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CALIFORNIA JUDGE INCREASES LEAD PAINT ABATEMENT FUND TO $1.15 BILLION DOLLARS

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg issued a final ruling this January ordering three paint companies to pay the State of California $1.15 billion to remove lead paint from interior surfaces of pre-1978 homes in Alameda County, Los Angeles County, Monterey County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Solano County, Ventura County and the cities of Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco.

While the federal government banned sales of lead paint in 1978, Judge Kleinberg said it remains a health hazard, citing a study conducted between 2007 and 2010 that found at least 50,000 children in the 10 cities and counties had elevated levels of lead in their blood.

The ruling would create a state fund to strip lead paint from doors, windows and floors of homes in those communities. Cleanup crews will also remove lead-containing dust and seal off or cart away contaminated soil from homes whose owners consent.

Defendants ConAgra Grocery Products Co., NL Industries Inc. and Sherwin-Williams Co. are expected to appeal the ruling.

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