NL Industries Inc. agreed to pay $60 million for lead paint cleanup in a settlement with 10 California cities and counties on Wednesday, May 16. Two other paint manufacturers, Sherwin Williams Co. and ConAgra Grocery Products Co. (which took over Fuller Paints Co.), are still facing court-determined damages of up to $670 million in a pending case.
It’s too early to tell whether the other manufacturers will settle following NL’s lead, but demand for lead inspections and abatement projects in California should increase as a result. More CDPH-certified lead professionals (inspector/assessors, supervisor/project monitors, and abatement workers) will be needed to perform this work. Since the work will be performed specifically to reduce lead hazards, EPA RRP certification will not meet current regulatory requirements.
As part of the settlement, NL Industries agreed to drop its support for a proposed November ballot initiative that would transfer financial liability for lead paint cleanup from paint manufacturers to taxpayers. The other two manufacturers are still gathering signatures for this ballot initiative.
We are watching carefully to see how this settlement impacts industry, regulatory agencies, and legislation in the Golden State.