The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said last week that it would sue companies that manufactured lead paint. NAACP President Kweisi Mfume described exposure to lead paint as a “civil rights issue.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that low-income children are eight times more likely to live in homes and apartments where lead paint is a problem, and that black children are five times more likely than white children to suffer from lead poisoning. The U.S. banned lead-based paint in 1978, but activists believe paint manufacturers knew as early as the 1930s that the paint posed major health risks. The companies deny such charges.