MONTPELIER, Vt. - In releasing a report on alleged lead poisoning in Vermont, Attorney General William Sorrell said the effects lead is having on the state's children will cost them $80 million in lost earnings over their lifetimes.
Acting Commissioner of Health Sharon Moffatt joined in the report, which claims that more than 300 children are poisoned each year. They call the $80 million estimate "conservative."
During the Legislature's session, it will be considering legislation to reduce lead in consumer products for sale in Vermont.
Three former makers of lead-based were found guilty last February of creating a public nuisance in a lawsuit filed by then-Rhode Island Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse, making Rhode Island the first state to sue over the lead-paint issue. The companies were Sherwin-Williams Co., NL Industries Inc. and Millennium Holdings LLC. A claim for punitive damages was denied.
Several cities also have sued. Ohio's Gov. Ted Strickland recently vetoed a lawsuit-limiting bill over lead paint to the delight of Attorney General Marc Dann.
Sorrell's report, part of the state's "Get the Lead out of Vermont" campaign, says lead poisoning is declining, just not at a quick enough rate.
"Education and prevention outreach have been successful up to a point," Moffatt said.