Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Lead Paint: Recommended By the US Gov't.

Here is a freebie for the defense teams at Sherwin Williams (SHW), NL Industries (NL) and Valspar (VAL).

From the US Dept. Of Agriculture , Forest Service Lab in Madison, Wisconsin in January 1949 in a paper called "A Standard of Quality for House Paint". "Pure white lead paint, usually classified as group L type lA grade 1, is an excellent paint for some uses, especially where repainting may be put off longer than is generally desirable". What makes this "classification system" detrimental to those currently suing lead paint manufacturers is the opening paragraphs:

"You can now buy house paint and barn paints labeled by the maker with both his trade brand and a classification recommended by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. The classification is a form of quality standard. It tells briefly what kind and grade of paint you are buying. The trade brand tells, as it always has, who made the paint and expects to be held responsible for it. Together, classification and trade brand supply all that is needed to buy from reputable sources with an eye to quality as well as to price.

The USDA classification plan was suggested by the Forest Products Laboratory after more than 20 years of research in the painting of wood. Under the plan there is a classification for every kind of house or barn paint for wood buildings.

Paint buyers should think of grade chiefly as a guide to the way paint should be used for best and most economical service. Although grade 1 (more lead in pigment) of suitable group and type is likely to be the best purchase for most work even if it costs a little more, good work can still be done in many cases with paint of grade 2 or grade 3."

After 20 years of research, where is the "danger warnings" for lead paint by the US government? In fact, they classify lead based paint and recommend it to consumers as the "highest quality." How were "leadless" paints described on the 1 to 5 scales (one being best)? "There are also leadless paints of groups TZ, SZ, or STZ for use particularly where there may be hydrogen sulfide in the air, which blackens paints containing lead. The leadless paints are of type 4D or, if they are low-grade paints, sometimes type 5.

What is also of important note here is that the USDA was running tests in the 1950's, to determine the best paint for household use using paints with lead pigment in them. This means that even in the 1950's when many paint makers had stopped making lead pigment based paint for household use the US Gov't was still running tests for a classification system that determined lead pigmented paint was the most desirable due to it's durability. The result? Master painters were able to purchase their own lead and added it to paint to improve its performance. How can we now hold paint companies responsible?

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