FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2008
Alliance for Healthy Homes
202-347-7610 x 14
The lead poisoning prevention community is enormously disappointed in
the decision issued today by the Rhode Island Supreme Court that reverses
a jury 's decision holding three lead pigment makers liable for creating
a public nuisance. It is especially painful to see a reversal in the first
case where a state sued the pigment makers. Justice was not served for
the tens of thousands of Rhode Island children who have been irreversibly
harmed by lead in recent years.
The paint companies may not have been found legally responsible under
the technical definitions of public nuisance, but this trial highlighted
the undisputable moral failings of this industry. For decades, the companies
added a known toxin banned in other countries to a household product,
while duplicitously marketing its safety and virtues.
On behalf of the Alliance for Healthy Homes, I want to express our solidarity
with Rhode Island lead poisoning prevention advocates who, for many years,
worked so hard to encourage and support the State's lawsuit.
The Alliance also expresses deep gratitude for the perseverance and hard
work of the Rhode Island Attorney General's office and private counsel
that assisted with the case.
There remain pending legal cases in Ohio and California where lead pigment
makers could still be held accountable for their harmful actions, and
we urge lead poisoning prevention advocates and governments to continue
to champion these cases. If these cases do not succeed, taxpayers and
private property owners will continue to bear the costs of dealing with
the toxic legacy that these companies created.
Finally, the Alliance urges advocates to redouble efforts in the "ground
war" against lead poisoning. Despite today's unfortunate setback,
we all must continue working to safeguard our children from lead exposure.
We must continue fighting for smarter and stronger prevention-oriented
policies at the state and local levels and demanding greater funding for
prevention programs, particularly pending federal appropriations for HUD,
CDC and EPA lead poisoning prevention programs.
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The Alliance for Healthy Homes is the national, nonprofit public interest
organization advocating for practical, affordable policy solutions and
working to build community capacity to prevent housing-related hazards
from harming the health of children, their families, and other residents.
Founded in 1990 as the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, the Alliance
stresses: the importance of fixing housing-related health hazards before
they cause harm; housing that is decent, environmentally safe, and affordable
for all; and holistic strategies that efficiently address multiple hazards
and their underlying causes. The Alliance provides strategic and technical
support to community-based organizations and state and local agencies
across the nation.