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For Immediate Release
May 12, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL ANNOUNCE AGREEMENT TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM LEAD PAINT POISONING
Consumer Education, Warning Labels Aimed at Reducing Cases of Lead Paint Poisoning

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that attorneys general from 50 states and jurisdictions have finalized an agreement aimed at educating and warning consumers and families about the risk of lead paint exposure during repainting and other home renovation work.

The agreement, reached between the state Attorneys General and the National Paint and Coatings Association (NPCA), requires paint manufacturers to affix warning labels on paint cans and provide consumer education and training, alerting consumers to the hazards of lead paint exposure and how to avoid it.

The agreement requires both a lead exposure warning on the side of the paint can, as part of the manufacturer’s surface preparation instructions, as well as an abbreviated warning either on the top of the can or on a separate "sticker." The National Paint and Coatings Association has also agreed to fund and provide consumer education and training courses on lead-safe renovation and repainting to homeowners, contractors, landlords and housing workers. Also under the terms of the agreement, NPCA will develop discount programs for safety equipment.

"While I am concerned that Marylanders also need to be warned of the dangers caused by open flame burning of lead paint, this agreement in its current state is a step in the right direction," Attorney General Curran said. "We hope it will result in a reduction in the number of lead poisoning cases, especially relating to children."

The National Paint and Coatings Association has agreed to commence further discussions about the inclusion of additional warnings about open flame burning on labels in the future.

While lead paint has not been manufactured or sold since 1978, it still presents a serious health risk to adults and, especially, young children who are exposed to dust or occupy homes during renovations. In Baltimore City in 2001, 10 percent of all children between the ages of 0-6 who were tested had elevated lead blood levels.

This past legislative session, Attorney General Curran supported House Bill 719, requiring the Maryland Department of the Environment distribute for display a poster warning of the hazards of lead paint. The bill was passed by the General Assembly and awaits Governor Ehrlich’s signature. If signed, the posters must be displayed by every Maryland retailer selling paint or paint products by October 1, 2003.

To learn more about working safely with lead paint, consumers should call the Environmental Protection Authority’s Lead Information Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323) or log on to www.epa.gov/lead.

In total, Attorneys General from 50 states and jurisdictions signed on to the agreement, including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

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