Illinois Lead Poisoning
October 8, 2003
CHICAGO—Judge Nancy Arnold dismissed a lawsuit filed by the City of Chicago that sought hundreds of millions of dollars from lead-based paint manufacturers. The suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court in September of 2002, would require the paint industry to share in the costs of removing lead-based paid from homes as well as caring for poisoned children.
Judge Arnold’s dismissal of the suit on Tuesday makes Chicago the latest in a long line of municipalities denied redress from paint-makers. Arnold ruled that the city did not prove that the companies in question had created a public nuisance. The city would be required to show that specific companies’ products are responsible for specific injuries in children to recover funds sought by the lawsuit.
Chicago leads the nation in childhood lead poisoning, with at least 12,000 children testing positive in 2001. The majority of children exposed to lead paint receive public assistance. Lead-based paint, which can cause cognitive and developmental damage, was banned for residential use in Chicago in 1972. Its sale was banned in the US in 1978.
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