Look For New Warnings About Lead PaintAug 8, 2003 | ww.consumerreports.org
Some 25 years after lead paint was banned, the paint industry's trade association and 50 attorneys general have agreed to put warnings about lead-paint hazards on cans of new paint.
The main label will have to make the following disclosure: WARNING! If you scrape, sand, or remove old paint, you may release lead dust. LEAD IS TOXIC. EXPOSURE TO LEAD DUST CAN CAUSE SERIOUS ILLNESS, SUCH AS BRAIN DAMAGE, ESPECIALLY IN CHILDREN. PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD ALSO AVOID EXPOSURE. Wear a NIOSH-approved respirator to control lead exposure. Clean up carefully with a HEPA vacuum and a wet mop. Before you start, find out how to protect yourself and your family by contacting the National Lead Information Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD or log on to www.epa.gov/lead.
Warnings will appear on stickers beginning in September 2003. Permanent labels will be used no later than December 2004. The industry will also begin a four-year-long education and training program for contractors and government officials.
Although lead paint has been off the market since 1978, it "still presents a serious health risk to adults, and especially young children," says Massachusetts attorney general Tom Reilly. He initiated discussions with the paint industry that led to the labeling agreement. The hazard is most acute in homes being renovated. In a statement announcing the labeling agreement, Reilly says Massachusetts health officials estimate that 20 to 30 percent of lead-poisoning cases can be attributed to repairs and renovations.