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Home Depot pays $8 million to settle California paint lawsuit

Consumer Reports News: April 02, 2013 01:08 PM

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Home Depot has agreed to pay $8 million dollars in fees and costs for selling paints in southern California that violate the region's limit of 50 grams of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, per liter. Set by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the standard is a big reason why paints have become better for humans and the environment nationwide. And as Consumer Reports' interior paint Ratings have shown, these healthier paints can also deliver top performance.

The lawsuit was initially filed against Home Depot in July 2011. It came after Air Quality Management District (AQMD) inspectors found noncompliant paints at more than two dozen stores. "Compliance with our paint and coating regulations is essential to this region reaching clean air goals that are protective of public health," said Barry Wallerstein, AQMD's executive officer. "Home Depot knowingly misled customers by selling higher polluting, non-compliant products in its stores."

According to the March 2013 filing, Home Depot will resolve the suit for an aggregate of $6.9 million, plus $1.1 million in fees and costs, pending approval of the trial court.

All but one of the 65 interior paints in our most recent paint tests contain 50 grams of VOCs or less. That includes top-performing models from Clark+Kensington, Glidden, and Valspar. We even have several zero-VOC paints on our recommended list, including Behr Premium Plus Flat Enamel sold exclusively at Home Depot. Given recent proceedings, it's safe to assume that those paints, and any others carried by Big Orange, will follow the letter of the law.

Daniel DiClerico

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