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Environmental brief ~ WI legislators begin process to restrict lead paint liability

[JURIST] In Friday's environmental law news, Wisconsin state legislators held a public hearing before a joint meeting of the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees Thursday to discuss a bill that would require plaintiffs in manufacturer liability cases to prove a specific product caused their injuries and was made or marketed by the defendant company in order to collect damages. The legislation is in response to a Wisconsin State Supreme Court [official website] ruling [PDF text] earlier this year that held plaintiffs can sue manufacturers for their injuries even when they cannot identify which company made the harmful product. The case involved injuries caused by a lead paint pigment, and was allowed to proceed aginst the paint manufacturers despite being unable to link the companies to the paint. AP has more.

In other environmental law news...

  • The US Environmental Protection Agency [official website] has reached an agreement [EPA press release] with 24 airlines to monitor the drinking water aboard flights. Earlier testing showed that 15 percent had contaminated water. The EPA is currently developing specific regulations for onboard drinking water quality, and is maintaining a website [EPA website] about the issue, including ongoing test results. The Monterey Herald has more
  • The Japan Ministry of the Environment [official website] announced Friday a planned special measures law designed to compensate families of victims of diseases caused by asbestos. The law is expected to provide 2.4M yen to approximately 9,500 families of people without worker's accident insurance that died from asbestos-related cancer. The Asahi Shimbun has more.

  • The Chinese government has closed down a paper mill for water pollution that appears to have led to increased cancer rates around the mill. The paper mill, located near Tailai in the Heilongjiang Province, began operating in 1983 and has been dumping untreated sewage into a nearby lake since then. Local residents get their drinking water from wells which have become contaminated as the lake sewage seeps into the groundwater. Cancer rates around the mill are 10 times the regional average. Shanghai Daily News has more.

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