Lowe’s Companies Inc., the nation’s No. 2 home improvement chain, has set off a legal firestorm by agreeing to a $6.5 million national settlement over tainted drywall in a class-action suit being decided by Muscogee County Superior Court Judge Bobby Peters. The $6.5 million settlement would pay relatively small amounts — Lowe’s gift cards in amounts ranging from $50 to $2,000 — to most victims who had the tainted drywall in their homes. But the handful of attorneys who quietly negotiated the deal will receive a separate payment of $2.1 million.
When Sen. David Vitter persuaded the EPA to agree to yet another review of its long-delayed assessment of the health risks of formaldehyde, he was praised by companies that use or manufacture a chemical found in everything from plywood to carpet. As long as the studies continue, the EPA will still list formaldehyde as a “probable” rather than a “known” carcinogen, even though three major scientific reviews now link it to leukemia and have strengthened its ties to other forms of cancer.