Sinking Rhode Island Like a Lead Anchor
Maureen Martin’s got it right:
If the [lead-paint] verdict is upheld, every dwelling in Rhode Island constructed before 1978 (about 240,000 total) will have to be inspected for lead-based paint, regardless of whether the owners agree to that inspection. Residents will be forcibly relocated if their homes need an “extreme makeover” to remove and replace everything with lead paint on it — siding, walls, stairs, even kitchen cabinets — all at the paint companies’ expense.
This scenario is fraught with unintended consequences. First, because Rhode Island law already requires landlords to abate lead hazards in rental units at their own expense, those who neglected to do so would get a free renovation, paid for by the paint companies. Second, real-estate values, already in decline, would further plummet while repairs are under way. This will depress the real-estate resale market and impair the value of assets held by lenders.
Read the op-ed for a reminder of the details, but the sound one hears while reading such summaries is of a nation eating itself — no doubt with a toxic aftertaste for which somebody else will have to bear the consequences.