Columbus is one of 15 local and state governments who will share in a 46.6 million dollar federal grant to remove lead-based paint and other hazards in 31 hundred low-income homes.
The grant will also fund health and safety assessments by Columbus Public Health. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates 3.6 million American homes with children younger than 6 contain lead-based paint or paint dust. City officials have said some of the paint was manufactured by Cleveland-based Sherwin Williams, which successfully fought lawsuits filed by Columbus and other cities. In 2008, the Rhode Island Supreme Court overturned a jury decision that would have forced Sherwin-Williams and two other manufacturers to pay billions of dollars to clean up contaminated homes. That reversed a landmark 2006 ruling that held the three companies liable for creating a public nuisance by making and selling lead paint more than 30 years ago, then covering up the health risks. The court said the burden of making properties safe from lead contamination should rest with landlords and property owners. Appellate courts in Illinois, Missouri and New Jersey rejected similar claims. Sherwin-Williams says it removed lead from virtually all interior paints by 1940. The use of lead paint in homes was banned in 1978, but the CDC estimates 34 million U.S. homes built between 1930 and 1950 still have it.