This Article describes a comprehensive framework for addressing lead-based paint hazards that balances the panoply of competing interests and affected stakeholders. The framework is broadly applicable to the overwhelming number of states that have not yet adopted preventative lead laws; this Article focuses in particular on California to illustrate the types of challenges that these states are likely to confront. The proposed approach is based on the recommendations of a congressionally mandated national task force, modified to address the specific needs of California. Recognizing the enormity of the lead-based paint problem (over 8.6 million housing units in California may have lead-based paint) and the paramount importance of preserving affordable housing stock, the proposed approach moves away from full-scale, expensive abatement of lead hazards in favor of more cost-efficient, health-protective measures. It provides for clear standards of care by property owners, a measure of tort liability relief for compliant owners in the event they are sued for injuries, and a strong incentive for insurers to begin providing coverage for lead-related injuries. It also mandates lead-safe work practices by contractors and encourages the development of a well-trained lead hazard control industry. The approach relies in part on market forces that will be triggered by mandatory disclosures of the risks of lead in private housing.
21 Harvard Envtl. Law Rev. 387 (1997(