The agreement resulted from discussions that began in October 2002 between a workgroup of state attorneys general (state AGs), spearheaded by the office of the Massachusetts attorney general, and NPCA.
The agreement calls for an interim product sticker program and permanent product labeling to alert consumers that lead dust exposure may occur during the renovation and remodeling of buildings, which may contain old lead-based paint. A 19-month sticker program for consumer paints begins for products manufactured on or after Sept. 30, 2003 and extends through April 30, 2005. The new labeling requirements will begin no later than Dec. 31, 2004. Beginning Sept. 30, 2003, manufacturers will distribute new POS consumer information. In addition, a national training program offered (without cost) to contractors and state and local officials will be devised, underwritten and deployed by NPCA on behalf of the paint industry. This four-year educational and training program will entail 150 sessions taking place in 50 locations across the U.S. annually, according to NPCA.
"The joint agreement, which is also being announced today in Boston by Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly, is emblematic of the U.S. paint industry's longstanding commitment to constructively address this problem," said NPCA president Andy Doyle.
It should come as no surprise that Rhode Island attorney general Patrick C. Lynch reacted strongly to the news, calling the agreement "an empty gesture" designed to influence the verdict of Rhode Island's upcoming retrial of the lead-paint case.
"These manufacturers didn't need the approval of attorneys general to warn consumers about the dangers of lead-based paint. It's too little, too late. It's nothing more than a smokescreen," he said in a statement released to the press.
He continued, "For the past 64 years, the industry could have done this on its own but chose not to. This agreement can be seen as shifting the responsibility of cleaning up their mess from themselves to the very people they've been harming. They're doing this because of the pressure that the State of Rhode Island has brought to bear on them. And we have no intention of backing down until justice is served."