WASHINGTON - The NPCA issued a special alert advising coatings manufacturers about potential new requirements involving lead-dust exposure surface-preparation labeling and consumer-education programs as part of an initiative announced in October 2002 by a group of 27 state attorneys general.

The initiative, spearheaded by the office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, would require a consensus "suggested surface-preparation label statement" designed to warn consumers of the potential for lead-dust exposure during the sanding and scraping of old paint, as well as associated consumer education, the NPCA said.

In addition, an interim "stickering" program for labels might be required for a period of about 18 months for all consumer paint products manufactured as early as June 15, the NPCA said.

The NPCA said the group of attorneys general is also proposing the creation of a controversial voluntary fund devoted to consumer education, financed with contributions by individual companies. In ongoing discussions with the attorneys general, the NPCA said it remains "adamantly opposed to this concept" and will continue to insist that the funding plan be dropped before any final resolution on the labeling initiative can be considered.

NPCA members can obtain more information from NPCA General Counsel Tom Graves, e-mail tgraves@paint.org, or Vice President Steve Sides, e-mail ssides@paint.org.